The Ghana Centre for Democratic Development, CDD, has called on CHRAJ to investigate the alleged assault and manhandling of two Citi FM / Citi TV journalists Caleb Kudah and Zoe Abu-Baidoo Addo by operatives of National Security. The Centre has also condemned the assault of Mr. Kudah and the Rambo-style storming of the media house to arrest his colleague Zoe Abu-Baidoo Addo whom he had forwarded footages of vehicles procured with state funds but reportedly abandoned for a long period of time and parked within the premises of the National Security Ministry.
“CDD-Ghana condemns the armed invasion of the station’s premises and the attempted arrest of its reporters without regard to the arrest procedure prescribed by law which outlaws the arrest of persons in such situations without a court warrant and caution”.
“The Center also condemns the reported assault of Mr. Kudah by operatives of the National Security Ministry while he was held in custody. This incident, which follows numerous other cases of assault on journalists by members of security agencies in the recent past, demonstrates a propensity of law enforcement officers to assault journalists with impunity and complete disregard for rights and freedoms of journalists in the pursuit of their constitutional duty”. A statement from the CDD said.
The statement also said the reasons being adduced by some as basis for the assault was inexcusable and undemocratic.
“The suggestion that a journalist using surreptitious means to uncover and expose wrongdoing is unethical and therefore warrants brutal assault by National Security operatives is as absurd as it is undemocratic. The National Security Ministry, a public institution, cannot be immune to public scrutiny and transparency in its operations”.
The statement further noted that, “the failure of the relevant State institutions to effectively investigate these frequent assaults on journalists and hold the perpetrators accountable demonstrates a growing trend of complete disregard for the rule of law and fundamental human rights. CDD-Ghana condemns this worrying development which continues to undermine press freedom in an emerging democracy such as ours”
In addition, CDD called on CHRAJ to thoroughly investigate the matter.
“The Center calls on the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) to thoroughly investigate this and many other incidents of assault on journalists by members of security agencies and bring the perpetrators to justice, in accordance with article 218 of the Constitution”.
In conclusion, CDD Ghana reiterated on government to implement the recommendations made by the Emile Short Commission of Inquiry after the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election violence.
“Further, the Center calls on government to implement the recommendations of the Emile Short Commission with respect to streamlining the structure and operations of national security agencies, including but not limited to the training of officers of security agencies to internalise and respect human rights in their activities”.