GJA wants soldier who assaulted TV3 journalist sanctioned

The Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) has vehemently condemned the assault of a journalist with Accra-based media house, TV3.

Stanley Nii Blewu was allegedly assaulted by a uniformed military personnel at the Tema Station in Accra when he was filming a cleanup exercise.

The journalist had visited the station to file a report on the sanitation situation in parts of the capital after the Minister for Sanitation, Cecilia Abena Dapaah, said the government had achieved 85%  of its promise to make Accra the cleanest city in Africa.

READ: Accra Is 85% Clean – Sanitation Minister

“According to reports, the soldier asked a police officer to arrest the TV3 crew for taking shots of a cleanup exercise on Wednesday.”

“The policeman reportedly declined and pointedly told the soldier that the cameraman had not committed any crime for filming a clean-up exercise in the public space,” a statement issued by GJA narrated the incident as it transpired at the scene.

It further said, “this 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”.

The statement signed by the GJA President, Affail Monney added that the journalist was forced to follow the soldier to the AMA Headoffice where the assault continued as the uniformed man deleted footages captured from the phone.

“The soldier brazenly assaulted the cameraman the more with three strong kicks in the abdomen”.

That was at the reception hall of the AMA headquarters.

“In a move to save his life, the cameraman, was rushed to the PRO’s office where the soldier again inflicted “heavy blows” on Stanley Blewu’s neck. He reportedly left the AMA office with a swollen arm and excruciating pains all over his body.”

GJA is of the view that the “brutish attacks on the TV3 cameraman is a barbaric infringement on press freedom guaranteed under the 1992 Constitution”.

Mr. Monney said assaults on journalists, especially in their line of duty, is also a dent on Ghana’s image as a flourishing democracy that highly respects media freedom.

He believes these kinds of reports accounted for Ghana’s poor show on the World Press Freedom Index.

Mr. Monney said, “As the December 7 elections inexorably approach, the international community in general and human rights groups, in particular, have understandably sharpened their focus on Ghana”.

“The most decisive and effectual move to salvage the country’s luminous image is for the military authorities to launch an immediate investigation into the unrestrained attacks on the TV3 cameraman and deal with the soldier squarely if he is found guilty”.

“It is needless to emphasize that Ghana has come too far to backslide in her democratic strides, respect for human rights, and practice of media freedom. Any act which tends to undermine these strides and soil our image should, therefore, be discouraged or punished to the fullest extent permissible within the law,” the statement concluded.

No prosecutions

In March last year, the Daily Graphic reported that no single security person has been prosecuted for the attacks on more than 25 journalists and media employees since 2006.

Although the perpetrators in some of the cases are identified, the cases are settled sometimes with apologies.

In most cases, however, no compensation is paid, while the security organisation involved a promise to offer better working relations with the media.



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