President of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), Mr. Roland Affail Monney, has retracted and apologized for comments he made in response to the arrest, detention and alleged abuse of a Citi FM journalist by National Security on Wednesday.
In a press statement that he read at a short press conference in Accra, Mr. Monney said his comment that Caleb Kudah had breached the ethics of the GJA when he filmed some abandoned State cars at the premises of National Security, leading his arrest, had been made out of half-baked information about the incident.
“On Wednesday, May 12, 2021, around 5:40 pm, I granted an interview at Kumasi Airport to Joy FM. Admittedly, the information I had was sketchy. So I reluctantly went ahead to speak to the issue. I began by instinctively and profoundly expressing my tenderest solicitude to and fullest solidarity with the two journalists. Indeed, I faulted Caleb, whom I thought was “openly“ filming a video at the Ministry of National Security before his arrest,” Mr. Affail Monney said.
However, he said that he has subsequently become better informed of the events that took place and from the position of full knowledge his assertion that Mr. Kudah had been acting unethically was wrong.
“As a student of leadership, I have learned that a leader is not afraid to change course when confronted with fresh information which challenges his earlier assumptions. As I indicated, the information I had before the interview was scanty. What is available now is sufficient, as legal luminaries, distinguished ethicists and social critics slice and dice the issue from all angles,” the remorseful GJA President pleaded.
The recant comes after pressure group, Alliance for Social Equity and Public Accountability (ASEPA) had demanded his removal as GJA President, calling his action traitorous.
Mr. Affail Monney called the actions of the National Security operatives a “misbehavior” urging the leadership of the Ministry of National Security fast-track investigations that it says it is launching into the matter.
“The intrinsic value and inherent dignity of the two as human beings were blatantly violated. Their freedom as journalists, too, was scandalously abused. The misbehaviour of the national security operatives can exert a significant chilling effect on the media landscape as a whole. This must stop. In view of this, I urge the Committee of Enquiry set up by the Ministry of National Security to quickly move into action to impartiality unravel all the circumstances surrounding the issue,” Affail Monney stated.
The GJA President however lamented that even though his earlier position that Caleb Kudah had violated article 13 of the GJA code of ethics had been a mistake from not having the full facts at the time, it was not the only thing that he said.
He said he had pointed out that even if Mr. Caleb had breached the law, the manner of his arrest was unacceptable. However, that aspect of the interview he granted was muted in stories, while the part about the faulting Caleb Kudah was sensationalized.
Mr. Kudah had been arrested on Tuesday, together with another colleague, Zoe Abu-Baidoo by heavily armed National Security operatives for filming some abandoned State vehicles at the premises of National Security.
Both journalists were interrogated, but Mr. Kudah would later emerge and give a harrowing account of how he was tortured and beaten mercilessly by the national security operatives.