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Captain Smart granted bail, Media General question basis for arrest

BY: Kweku Zurek

Media General, the parent company of Onua FM and Onua TV, has questioned the basis for the arrest of its morning show host Captain Smart on Thursday, December 2, 2021.

Smart was arrested due to some unsavoury pronouncements he made on the peace and security of the country in a broadcast but Media General in a statement said his comments should not have been interpreted in that manner by the Police.

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Smart's employers also added that they were increasingly concerned about "the new trend of arrest of journalists and media practitioners".

According to them, it was "one more egregious example of the intolerance increasingly creeping into the Ghanaian society".

"This recent trend of picking journalists has affected journalists who work with Media General who are simply doing their work and, like every Ghanaian, should be protected by the Constitution," the statement said.

"Today's arrest and detention of Captain Smart is by no means an isolated incident, but just one more egregious example of the intolerance increasingly creeping into the Ghanaian society. We are convinced that a careful review of the entire statement made by Captain Smart would reveal that it did not amount to threats to the peace and or stability of the country as claimed by the Ghana Police".

The statement further urged the Ghana Police Service and the Inspector General of Police to exercise restraint in their dealings with journalists legitimately doing their work.

"The Media General Group would like to urge the Ghana Police Service and the IGP to exercise restraint in their dealings with journalists legitimately doing their work and dismiss these broad charges so that press freedom would be protected," the statement said.

"We at Media General shall continue to preach and exercise responsible journalism. However, we would continue to empower our journalists and broadcasters to be fearless, honest and forthright in their professional outlook always".

Read the entire statement below;

CAPTAIN SMART RELEASED

(ACCRA, Thursday, December 2, 2021)-The Nima Divisional Police Command today arrested broadcaster Blessed Godsbrain Smart, popularly known as "Captain Smart", the host of the morning show "Onua Maakye on Media General subsidiaries, Onua TV and Onua FM.

At about 11am on Thursday, Smart received officers from the National Investigations Bureau (NIB) in his home who invited him to their office, to which he obliged. He was subsequently taken to the Nima Police station in Accra for interrogation.

At the Nima Police Station, Smart was cautioned on the "offence of offensive conduct conducive to breaches of the peace as provided under section 207 of the Criminal Act, 1960 (Act 29)." He provided a caution statement and then was granted bail.

According to the Police, the arrest of Captain Smart was due to some unsavoury pronouncements he was alleged to have made that, according to them, hinged on the peace and security of the country.

However, Media General believes that the statement made by Captain Smart should not be one that should be interpreted in the manner that the Police did and also to add that we are increasingly concerned about the new trend of arrest of journalists and media practitioners.

This recent trend of picking journalists has affected journalists who work with Media General who are simply doing their work and, like every Ghanaian, should be protected by the Constitution.

Today's arrest and detention of Captain Smart is by no means an isolated incident, but just one more egregious example of the intolerance increasingly creeping into the Ghanaian society. We are convinced that a careful review of the entire statement made by Captain Smart would reveal that it did not amount to threats to the peace and or stability of the country as claimed by the Ghana Police.

The Media General Group would like to urge the Ghana Police Service and the IGP to exercise restraint in their dealings with journalists legitimately doing their work and dismiss these broad charges so that press freedom would be protected.

We at Media General shall continue to preach and exercise responsible journalism. However, we would continue to empower our journalists and broadcasters to be fearless, honest and forthright in their professional outlook always.