Affail Monney

The Ghana Journalists? Association (GJA) has condemned in no uncertain terms the recent brutalities meted out to journalists of TV Africa at Adjei Kojo near Tema in the Greater Accra Region, while a demolition exercise was taking place in the area.

The journalists had gone to the site to do a purely humanitarian story on the plight of the displaced residents ? who had become ?refugees? as a result of the demolition ? when they were pounced on by suspected operatives of National Security and the police and were subjected to harrowing treatment.

For about two hours, according to eyewitnesses, the journalists endured physical and mental torture as they were detained.  Their camera was seized and later released to them after the News Editor of TV Africa, A C Ohene, had intervened.  The incriminating portion of the film was deleted before the camera was handled over to the crew.

In a statement signed by the President of the Association, Mr. Affail Monney, the GJA pointed out that the deletion of that portion of the film did not and should not erase evidence nor diminish the gravity of the offence.

?The GJA and indeed, all lovers of media freedom and the rule of law, are tired and sick of the scandalous frequency of attacks on journalists in their line of duty,? the statement underscored.

The Association therefore, called on the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) and the National Security Coordinator to immediately institute a full-scale investigation into the incident and punish the perpetrators.

?The victims also deserve an unqualified apology and adequate compensation.  The GJA notes with appreciation recent image polishing and public friendly strategies by the security apparatus, particularly the police.  The Association is deeply worried that a few members of the law enforcement agencies continue to show affinity to deviate from the path of legality, civility and dignity, thereby tarnishing the image of their entire institutions and the nation as a whole,? the mother association of journalists in the country noted.

The GJA urged the leadership of the security institutions to deal firmly and squarely with the deviants in their midst to save the image and name of such institutions.

It queried, ?Since when did the demolished site at Adjei Kojo become a security zone?? adding that the latest brutalities against the TV Africa crew reinforces the need to remind the offending law enforcers to always operate within the confines of the law or be prepared to taste the biting edge of the law.

?Ghana has indeed come a long way in its democratic march, as well as respect for media freedom and the rule of law.  The whole nation must therefore descend heavily on the few elements whose acts of brutality and inhumanity threaten to set the clock of progress back,? it urged.


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