The Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) says it was struck with “utter shock and intractable concern” when it learnt soldiers believed to be protecting the image of the Sanitation Minister Cecilia Abena Dapaah had brutally assaulted two journalists from TV3.
Apparently, the journalists had set out to verify claims made earlier in the week that the government plan of making Accra the cleanest city in Africa had been achieved by 85 per cent.
The journalists set out to show the filth that flew in the face of the “cleanest city” narrative. They filmed the Mokola Market noted for its mountains of refuse, Circle, etc.
Their luck run out when they encountered a group of gun-wielding soldiers at the Tema Station, also noted for filth and open defecation.
According to the narration from the battered journalists, the soldiers ambushed them and proceeded to batter them even when they identified themselves as journalists on the beat.
According to the reports, the soldier asked a police officer to arrest the TV3 crew for taking shots of a clean-up exercise on Wednesday. The policeman reportedly declined and pointedly told the soldier that the cameraman had not committed any crime for filming the clean-up in a public space. This infuriated the soldier who then instructed other security personnel and city guards to surround the cameraman for refusing to surrender his phone and camera.
One of the assaulted journalists, Stanley Blewu said the unnamed soldier “kicked my abdomen and left thigh multiple times, hit my right hand with heavy blows several times until my phone fell off and he grabbed it.”
“The GJA views the flurry of brutish attacks on the TV3 cameraman as a barbaric infringement on press freedom guaranteed under the 1992 Constitution. The display of naked impunity and unwarranted attacks on journalists, especially in their line of duty, are also a dent on Ghana’s image as a flourishing democracy that highly respects media freedom. The same factors account for the country’s slide down on the World Press Freedom Index,” the GJA fired in a press statement released today and made available to Whatsup News.
“As the December 7 elections inexorably approach, the international community in general and human rights groups in particular have understandably sharpened their focus on Ghana. The most decisive and effectual move to salvage the country’s luminous image is for the military authorities to launch an immediate investigation into the unrestrained attacks on the TV3 cameraman and deal with the soldier squarely, if he is found guilty.”
The TV3 attack is one of the long list of brutalities of journalists by security agents acting under the instruction of appointees of the Akufo Addo administration.
Several journalists have been forced into hiding and temporary exile, following threats to their lives for exposing rot in the government administration.
One undercover journalist, Ahmed Hussein Suale, was brutally assassinated after he released a damning undercover report that implicated the Presidency and its relations with the disgraced former Ghana Football Association (GFA) Kwasi Nyantakyi.
The undercover report released as a documentary titled Number 12, revealed an advanced stage of a scheme to influence President Akufo Addo, Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia and some ministers with approximately US$ 5 million to okay a number contracts involving state infrastructure projects.
Ahmed Suale was shot at point-blank range by motorcycle-mounted assassins after the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament for Assin Central, Kennedy Agyapong placed a bounty on his head.