Attention has been drawn to members of the Journalists for Human Rights, AUCC-Chapter on an alleged assault case visited on one of its members, who happens to be a journalist at TV Africa by some military officers with one identified only as Damfuor.
For us at JHR, our vision is to have an informed and respectful society of human rights which is free from abuse. In pursuance of this, one of the important ways we can address issues of abuse is to make them audible and visible for institutions concerned to act accordingly in order to bring about sanity.
Particulars of the case at hand
To ascertain the veracity of the said me report, we have gone the extra mile to speak to the victim.
When contacted, the journalist in question, Samuel Adobah of TV Africa confirmed the alleged case to the effect that what is being reported in the media was a true reflection of what actually transpired between him and the said officers chiefly orchestrated by one Officer Damfuor of the Ghana Armed Forces.
According to him, the incident occurred yesterday at Olebu in the Ga Central Municipality of the Greater Accra Region whilst covering a fire incident not far from his residence.
In the course of carrying out his duty, some men in military uniform on board an ‘Operation Calm Life’ vehicle with registration number 49 GA 68 arrived at the scene and subsequently asked bystanders to leave for their various homes as per the lockdown rules, bordering on total adherence to social distancing protocols. In the process, Mr Adobah produced his Identity Card and was allowed by one officer to go on with his assignment. Few minutes into the coverage, a military officer from nowhere slapped him from behind as he fell flat on the ground. It didn’t end there, some of his crew members joined the assault, thus subjecting him to severe beatings even at the plea of residents present at the scene. His phone was equally seized and smashed to an irreparable damage. The said military officers hurriedly drove off after the brutality leaving Mr Adobah to his fate.
A formal complaint was thereafter made at the Anyaa Police Station for action to be taken. As it stands now, Mr Adobah who is also a Level 400 student at the African University College of Communications is currently receiving medical attention as a result of injuries sustained from the beatings.
Concern for prompt action
We believe the GJA will not renege in condemning any form of assault on its members or any journalist since this constitute an affront to media freedom and the right to information . JHR-AUCC-Chapter in no uncertain terms condemn the physical attack meted on Mr Adobah and will continue to serve on its mission as an effective watchdog against all manner of abuse. The media are relied upon in democratic societies for the protection and promotion of human rights and democracy.
However we are bent on safeguarding the rights of all journalists and to demand justice where necessary. We considers such act as one without civility and unacceptable in this 21st century.
It is in furtherance of this objective of ensuring the well-being of media practitioners that JHR is petitioning the Ghana Journalists Association to equally condemn the alleged brutality and act accordingly by helping to fish out the officers involved for the law to take its course.
JHR will also like the institution responsible for the deployment of these officer to do same and produce a formal apology to Mr Adobah for the unlawful action.
Going forward, the JHR will not countenance on any form of brutality or abuse on a journalist executing his/her role.
We finally request the Ghana Police Service and the Military Command to institute an investigation into the unfortunate development and apply sanctions where necessary. We expect the military in the discharge of their duties to use civil action, arrest and prosecution and not excessive force especially in their quest to ensuring that citizens adhere strictly to the COVID-19 lockdown protocols.
While ensuring the freedom and fundamental rights of journalists, JHR is advising all media practitioners to tread cautiously and perform our roles professionally to enable us give out the best to benefit the society and Ghana as a whole.