Occupy Jubilee House demo: GJA condemns arrest and maltreatment of journalists
The Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) has issued a strong condemnation against the Ghana Police Service for the arrest and maltreatment of journalists during Thursday's Occupy Jubilee House demonstration in Accra.
The GJA in a press release copied to Graphic Online expressed disappointment in the Police, deeming their actions as unprofessional and a grave infringement on press freedom.
According to the GJA's investigations, journalists from various outlets, including foreign media organisations such as BBC, AFP, and AP, were apprehended despite having properly identified themselves.
The release said some journalists were subjected to mistreatment and had their equipment confiscated, resulting in considerable distress.
The release mentioned that in one incident involving a Metro TV reporter at the Accra Regional Police Headquarters, it was discovered that she was physically manhandled by police officers after her arrest for recording events at the location.
The GJA found it particularly alarming that the police officers failed to communicate the specific charges to the journalists, merely citing that they were acting on "orders from above." Shortly after arriving at the Accra Regional Police Headquarters, a senior police officer reportedly ordered their release, acknowledging that journalists were not the intended targets.
However, the release mentioned that the Police, in an unusual move, prohibited the journalists from using their own vehicles to return to the 37 Lorry Station area, leaving them stranded after their release.
The GJA viewed this entire episode, including the use of a police pick-up vehicle designed for equipment transport, as highly unprofessional and inhumane.
The Association said it expected a sincere apology from the Police to address the harm caused to the innocent journalists and the unjustified attack on press freedom. Instead, the GJA said it was surprised to read a Police press release on September 21, 2023, denying the arrest of two BBC correspondents.
It said its investigations confirmed the arrest of these correspondents, casting doubt on the accuracy of the Police's statement.
The GJA called for transparency, urging the Police to disclose the identities of the arrested and released journalists to dispel any doubts. The Association urged the Police to acknowledge their wrongdoings and offer an unqualified apology to the affected journalists.
The GJA expressed solidarity with the journalists affected by this incident and encouraged the media community to stand firm in their commitment to the principles of journalism and press freedom.