UPDN has observed with shame the arrest, assaults and detention of Citi FM/TV reporters, Caleb Kudah and Zoe Abu-Baidoo Addo by the National Security Operatives on Tuesday 11th May, 2021.
We condemn this unlawful, primitive, archaic, horrific and revolutionary way of apprehending suspects.
We understand the wrongdoing of the Adabraka based media conglomerate is that, their reporter (Caleb Kudah) filmed without authorization some vehicles packed at the National Security installation and received same by Zoe Abu-Baidoo Addo.
We are scandalized by the level of impunity among law enforcers and security officials who should know better.
Article 14 of Ghana’s 1992 Constitution frown upon the brute force and ruthless measures taken (unlawful arrest) by police and National security to arrest citizens.
What offence or law did Mr. Caleb Kudah and Zoe Abu-Baidoo Addo break?
Article 19 section 11 states that “No person shall be convicted of a criminal offence unless the offence is defined and the penalty for it is prescribed in a written law”. What law has prescribed that it is illegal to film at the National Security premises?
Again, the Police has no power and no right to cease the two Journalists phones and utter or delete materials on it. The law indicates that, an item on a suspect cannot be tempered with unless the item is deemed to be in evidence in a law court.
The police cannot be breaking laws to enforce laws.
The GJA Position
We respectfully disagree with the position of the Ghana Journalist Association (GJA). The Association’s president Dr. Roland Affail Monney has revealed that Mr. Caleb Kudah breached article 13 of the GJA Code of Ethics, which states “Journalists should take pictures through fair, straight forward and honest means unless tampered by national interest…”
Obviously, the code of ethics creates a caveat and defeats the position of the President of the Association.
We advise Mr. Affail Monney to abreast himself with Article 162 section 5 of the supreme law of the Republic of Ghana and further, withdraw and apologies to the traumatized journalists.
Sack DSP Samuel Azugu.
UPDN calls on the Inspector General of Police to immediately implement by removing DSP Samuel Kojo Azugu as recommended by the Emile Short Commission which investigated the Ayawaso West Wougon by-election mayhem in 2019. It has emerged that DSP Azugu ordered the beating and rambo style arrest of Caleb Kudah and Zoe Abu-Baidoo Addo.
These attacks against Journalists are a danger and threat to press freedom and freedom of speech/expression.
They are an obstacle to the right to information since they tend to block free access to and circulation of information.
Violence against journalists is absolutely unacceptable and the state has a responsibility to guarantee protection and proper safety of the media and journalists.
These attacks intimidate journalists and could lead to self-censorship when covering stories that may be risky.
The Police (National Security) and Government must break their silence, create an enabling environment for journalists and prioritise their safety.
Ghana cannot continue to ignore its laws and international obligations when it comes to the security and protection of the media.
The attacks, assaults and brutality cannot remain unpunished.
Kofi Asante Mensah