Danquah Institute (DI) has condemned attacks on a TV3 reporter, Stanley Nii Blewu, by a member of the Ghana Armed Forces at Tema Station, in Accra.
In a statement signed by its Executive Director, Richard Ahiagbah, DI stated, “there cannot be any justification to explain the journalist’s abuse, especially when, according to reports, the police officer whose office it is to enforce order finds no fault with the conduct or the journalist’s presence.”
“The incessant nature of the attacks paints a picture of an undisciplined soldier who appears oblivious of the implications of his action for the Ghana Armed forces and our democracy,” the statement said.
According to DI, the country cannot in good conscience tolerate “affronts of this nature to our democracy, particularly given the coming elections and the role the media must play to inform and aid citizens in expressing their views, making demands, or even finding faults with the functioning of the government.”
It therefore called on the leadership of the Ghana Armed Forces to act swiftly in applying “appropriate sanctions to deter reoccurrence.”
“In addition to sanctioning, there must be a demonstrable effort made to assure the public of the forces’ commitment to playing its part to safeguard our democracy and the freedoms and privileges it affords Ghanaians,” the statement added.
Following pronouncement by Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources, Cecilia Dapaah, that the government had achieved 85 per cent of its target of making the capital the cleanest city in Africa, the TV3 cameraman went to Tema Station to do a story on the state of sanitation there.
According to reports, the soldier asked a police officer to arrest the TV3 crew for taking shots of a clean-up exercise that was coincidentally happening at the time.
The policeman reportedly declined, pointing to the soldier that the cameraman had not committed any crime for filming the clean-up in a public space.
This, report says, infuriated the soldier who then instructed other security personnel and city guards to surround the cameraman for refusing to surrender his phone and camera.
In the words of Stanley Blewu, the soldier “kicked my abdomen and left thigh multiple times, hit my right hand with heavy blows several times until my phone fell off and he grabbed it.”