Press statement: Soldiers who abused two journalists must face the full rigors of the law

For Immediate Release

14th April 2020.

SOLDIERS WHO ABUSED TWO JOURNALISTS MUST FACE THE FULL RIGORS OF THE LAW

iWatch Africa condemns in no uncertain terms the alleged assault of two journalists by soldiers and call on the Military Authorities to conduct an expedited, independent and transparent investigation into these two separate instances of military brutality, with findings made public.

We find the actions of the soldiers completely unwarranted and wish to remind all security officers deployed across the country during this COVID-19 pandemic that they must desist from brutalizing citizens and use the law to deal with recalcitrant citizens.

iWatch Africa also wishes to remind all of the import of Article 15 (1), and (2) of the 1992 Constitution which provides for the respect for human dignity as follows:

(1) “The dignity of all persons shall be inviolable.

(2) No person shall, whether or not he is arrested, restricted or detained, be subjected to(a) torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment;

(b) Any other condition that detracts or is likely to detract from his dignity and worth as a human being”

First Incident:

The first incident, which happened at Olebu in the Ga Central Municipality in the Greater Accra Region on Good Friday, involved a TV Africa reporter, Samuel Adobah, who had gone to a fire scene around 10:30am on that fateful day for coverage. According to the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), Upon arrival on the scene, and realizing that the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) had not arrived yet, he called a colleague reporter at Adom FM to make an announcement on air to the GNFS for help. That initiative, obviously, demonstrates that Samuel Adobah is not only a journalist interested in the news but also a good citizen interested in saving life and property.

Second Incidence:

The second incident, which occurred at Akrem in the Asokore Mampong Municipality in the

Ashanti Region, involved a correspondent of Deutsche Welle, Yussif Abdul Ganiyu, who was assaulted by a military officer on April 5, 2020. While conducting an interview outside St Patrick

Hotel, Yussif Abdul Ganiyu was assaulted by a military officer identified as 2nd Lt Betrot Ampoma, for no just reason.

We also call on the police to investigate these two cases expeditiously to bring the culprits to face the full rigors of the law. We appeal to the President, as the Commander-in-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces, to denounce the unprofessional conduct of the soldiers and call his men and women to order so that they would refrain from such acts of brutality against media practitioners or civilians in the future.

Journalists continue to play a crucial role in deepening Ghana’s democracy and informing the public and we all have a responsibility to protect them from abuse and brutality by some rogue elements in military uniforms.

Signed

Gideon Sarpong (Director, iWatch Africa)

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Gideon Sarpong

Gideon Sarpong is a media practitioner with over six years experience in data, investigative and policy journalism. Gideon is currently the Policy and News Director at iWatch Africa. His major role includes developing news strategy for correspondents across Ghana, as well as designing project and policy focus for the organisation. He is an author with over eight publications; a fellow of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), Thomson Reuters Foundation (Wealth of Nations Program), Commonwealth Youth Program (DYLP) and Bloomberg Data for Health Program. Gideon holds a degree in economics from the University of Cape Coast and PgD in Policy Journalism and Media Studies from the University of Zambia. He is a firm believer in the use of data journalism and technology for development and is committed to promoting transparency and accountability in Africa.
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