The Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) has condemned the “barbaric” assault on three journalists of Ghanaian Times newspaper by some policemen in Accra on Thursday.
The assault followed a traffic offence and an accident involving a police officer who was using an unregistered motorcycle and the official Ghanaian Times vehicle, which was transporting the journalists to their various assignment venues.
The 10 police officers who were not happy that the journalists had tried to record the accident and the ensuing exchanges between their driver and the police motor rider, pounced on the journalists and physically assaulted them.
In a statement, the GJA said it “finds the assault by the said police officers barbaric in an era of rule of law when the police are supposed to be law enforcers rather than law breakers. We call on the Police Administration to find and punish the perpetrators of this dastardly act to serve as deterrent to others and redeem the image of the Ghana Police Service from shameful tag of a brutish institution. This incident must not be added to the list of unresolved cases of assault against journalists by police officers. This culture of impunity must end now!”
Below is the full statement:
Assault On Ghanaian Times Reporters By Police Is Barbaric
The Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) condemns in no uncertain terms an alleged assault of a reporter of Ghanaian Times by a police officer in Accra Thursday, March 14, 2019. We call on the Police Administration to undertake swift investigations into the incident and, for once, punish the perpetrators of such heinous crime.
Reports available to the GJA indicate that a policeman riding on an unregistered motorbike hit a vehicle belonging to the Ghanaian Times around 8:45am today and sped off. The policeman had allegedly jumped traffic and while meandering his way out, his motorbike hit the bumper of a Nissan saloon car belonging to the Ghanaian Times, breaking the mirror and windscreen of the car in the process. His pillion rider who saw what had happened tried to stop him, but the policeman rode on.
The driver of the Ghanaian Times vehicle then chased and managed to block the policeman around Kinbu, a few metres away from the accident scene, whereupon the reporter got off the vehicle and started video-recording the incident with his mobile phone. Angered by that action, the policeman attempted to snatch the mobile phone from the reporter and when he did not succeed, he allegedly punched the face of the reporter, as blood gushed out from his nostril. Other policemen and a soldier in uniform allegedly joined in the beatings of the reporter, pushing, kicking, slapping and punching him.
Other reporters of Ghanaian Times in the vehicle – Salifu Abdul Rahaman and Raissa Sambou Ebu – were also heckled, and in the process, Raissa, a nursing mother, collapsed and was rushed to the Greater Accra Regional Hospital for treatment.
According to the reports, the police officers demanded the mobile phone of the reporter and subsequently handcuffed and bundled him into a police vehicle. They then sent him to the Ministries Police Station and detained him for about four hours. The police were said to have ignored several pleas from the reporter to send him to hospital for medical treatment.
The reporter was later brought out of the cell and allegedly dragged on the staircase to an office on the second floor where he was asked to write a statement. But he declined to do so, insisting on the presence of his lawyer before proceeding. He was then sent back into the cell, as an officer at the counter continued to hit hit him in the back. It took the intervention of ACP David Eklu, the Director-General of Public Affairs Directorate of the Ghana Police Service, and ASP Efia Tenge, the Accra Region Police Public Relations Officer, to save the reporter from more torture.
The GJA finds the assault by the said police officers barbaric in an era of rule of law when the police are supposed to be law enforcers rather than law breakers. We call on the Police Administration to find and punish the perpetrators of this dastardly act to serve as deterrent to others and redeem the image of the Ghana Police Service from shameful tag of a brutish institution. This incident must not be added to the list of unresolved cases of assault against journalists by police officers. This culture of impunity must end now!
The GJA will not relent in its efforts to seek justice for all journalists who have been assaulted by police officers in the past and we call on all well-meaning Ghanaians to join us in condemnation of such barbaric conduct by the police. Twenty-seven years into our democratic dispensation, it is important for the police to appreciate that we live under the rule of law and not the rule of the jungle.
Affail Monney, (President)