The Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) has added its voice to the chorus of voices that has condemned the Rambo-styled arrest of the Editor-in-chief of the Whatsup News, Ghana’s only virtual newspaper.
In a statement Thursday, the GJA said the arrest of David S. Tamakloe was unconstitutional and fell squarely in the variety of the Police’ misapplication of its power of arrest.
“The 1992 constitution guarantees freedom of expression and creates avenues for persons who feel aggrieved by any media content to complain to the National Media Commission (NMC). To the extent that Mr. Tamakloe’s arrest relates to his journalistic work, the GJA believes the police action is unconstitutional and undermines the values of our democracy” the statement said.
It added that the “wrongful application of police authority that derails Ghana’s democratic ascendancy”, especially as the nation prepares for its 8th democratic elections.”
The statement was signed by the President of the GJA, Mr. Affail Monney.
Mr. Tamakloe was ambushed around his office on Wednesday, October 7, 2020 by two Police officers and a gang of National Security operatives waiting in the perimeter.
After satisfying themselves that Mr. Tamakloe was the Editor of Whatsup News, they bungled him into a car and sped off to the Tesano Police Station. They would later cart him away in handcuffs throughout the five gruelling hours of road travel to New Edubiase in the Ashanti Region to face a district magistrate court which had issued the bench warrant.
The arrest was in connection with a story that Whatsup News had published from a press conference by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) which had targeting ethnocentric attacks on Ewes and Northerners in New Edubiase during the recently ended voter registration exercise.
According to revelations by the Director of Elections of the NDC, Mr. Elvis Afriyie Ankrah, Ewes and people of Northern extraction in New Edubiase had been told by NPP members believed to be natives of New Edubiase, to leave the area and go and register in their home towns.
Following the story, the Police in New Edubiase arrested a reader of the story who had also shared it with the claim that the story was false. The issue got to Whatsup News’ attention and the Police were informed that the story was from a press conference by the NDC.
“The GJA will continue to follow, with all-consuming attention, these disturbing developments until justice is expeditiously served to assuage the concerns ignited by the circumstances and timing of Mr. Tamakloe’s arrest and prosecution,” the GJA statement said.
Already, the Private Newspapers Publishers Association, of which Mr. Tamakloe is Vice President has condemned the arrest and also stated it will look out to ensure justice is done.
Civil Society Organization, Alliance for Social Equity and Public Accountability (ASEPA) has also equally condemned the arrest.