Four journalists belonging to Accra-based media organisations were on May 7, 2013, detained for several hours by macho men believed to be bodyguards of Prophet T.B Joshua, Founder and Overseer of the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN). The journalists were locked up in a room at the church premises located at the Spintex Road, a suburb of Accra, the capital.?
The four, Emmanuel Anteh and Gilbert Azu, reporter and cameraman respectively of privately-owned?Multi-TV,?and Abdul Wahab Giwah and Seth Yeboah, cameramen of privately-owned?Net 2 Television?were accosted by the bodyguards while covering vehicular traffic and a large crowd that had gathered at the church premises in wait of the visiting Prophet.
In an interview with the privately-owned?Adom FM, Anteh narrated that while they were filming the crowd the bodyguards approached them and invited them into the church but upon entry ?they tried to seize our camera and locked us in a room where the reporters of?Net 2 TV?were already being held.?
It took the intervention of a police officer identified as Supt. Alex Kumankani, before the journalists were released.
This unlawful detention of the journalists has been met with wide public condemnation with the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) demanding an immediate investigation into the matter, adding that the law is not a respecter of any person irrespective of spiritual pedigree or social status.
Meanwhile the Executive Director of the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) has charged the Ghana Police Service to act swiftly to arrest and prosecute the bodyguards.
?People cannot take the law into their own hands and maltreat journalists in that manner so the police must come in quickly and arrest and prosecute them immediately,? he told?Adom FM.
This brings to two, assaults against journalists within the last two weeks. On April 25, 2013, a reporting crew from privately-owned?Metro Television?was physically?assaulted?while their camera was destroyed at Spintex Road by Mrs. Maria Djentuh, an estate owner, when they went to cover a confrontation between her (Mrs. Djentuh) and the residents of the estate.
This trend of attacks on journalists by individuals must be curbed. The MFWA, therefore, calls on journalists associations and groups to pursue these cases to ensure that investigations are actually conducted and the findings are made public so that appropriate redress or legal actions could be pursued.