A total of one hundred and five (105) media practitioners (journalists) were subjected to severe physical assault in Ghana between January 2012 and July 2014 with about eight-five (85) out of the number sustaining various degrees of injuries.
Investigations conducted by Today showed that the three Northern Regions in Ghana recorded the highest numbers of assault cases on journalists with a total number of 46 followed by Ashanti region 34; Greater Accra region10, Volta region 8, Western region 4 and Central region recording 3.
The unwarranted assaults on journalists, Today’s investigation revealed were mostly orchestrated by traditional rulers, politicians, security apparatus, religious groups, celebrities among others.
The increasing rate of attacks on journalists by unscrupulous people particularly the police and the army is creating a looming tension in the country.
Though the perpetrators of such heinous crime had been condemned by some regulatory media organizations like the National Media Commission (NMC), Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) and Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) yet the situation have not seen any change.
Leaders of the above-mentioned media institutions Today’s source further revealed were displeased with chiefs, politicians and national security agencies
They wondered why the central government through the Ghana Police Service could not go after the perpetrators of these heinous acts.
For instance, three journalists from Multimedia Company, Felix Akunor, Jojo Cobbina and Festus Solomon were on Saturday September 7, 2014 arrested on the orders of under-fire Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA,) Dr. Alfred Nii Okoe Vanderpuije for going to Mensah-Guinea in Accra to report on their plight.
In another incident, the Western Regional correspondent of TV3, Ebenezer Kwame Abaka was heckled by a military man with his camera seized in the process at an event he was invited to cover.
The journalist had gone to cover the passing out parade of some recruits of the Ghana Air Force at the Air Force Base in the Western regional capital, Takoradi.
According to him, because he was in a hurry, he forgot to take along his professional identification (ID) card.
While filming the event, a military man approached the journalist and asked him to produce his identity card.
When he failed to produce the ID, the military man heckled him and took his camera from him.
Even though Abaka was able to retrieve his camera shortly after that, he had to leave the event due to the embarrassment he suffered.
In a similar case, Today gathered that another journalist, Muftaw Mohammed, of privately-owned Metro FM, a radio station in Kumasi in the Ashanti region was on April 2014 was arrested and detained for taking pictures of some personnel from the Motor Traffic and Transport Unit (MTTU) of the Ghana Police Force, allegedly taking money from commercial drivers.
Mohammed was held by the police and his iPad was seized.
The pictures according to him were forcibly deleted by the MTTU officers before he was released.
Earlier on March 10, Geoffrey Buta, a photographer of the state-owned newspaper, Ghanaian Times was also assaulted by a military man in Tamale, in the Northern Region.
Also some crew of TV Africa was on March 7 detained by some security personnel at Adjei Kojo, a suburb of Accra.
The crew had gone to the area to do a follow-up on a demolition exercise that took place in the area.
Other media assaults were what happened to Jerrfery-De-Graft Johnson from Daily Guide and Malik Sulleman from Ghanaian Times who had gone to cover the trial case at an Accra Magistrate court presided over by Worlanyo Kotoku on Friday 19 Februay 2014 and were molested by the police officers.
The latest incident of media assault was what happened to the Ashanti regional correspondent of the Daily Graphic, Daniel Kenu on Friday September 5, 2014.
He was brutally assaulted by Baffour Gyan, the elder brother of Ghana Black Stars ‘captain Asamoah Gyan and their manager, Samuel Anim Addo at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium in Kumasi.
In an interview with Today, some journalists expressed concern about the seeming lack of tolerance on the part of some section of the security agencies in Ghana towards journalists when they are discharging their professional duties.
To this end, the visibly angry media practitioners called on the security agencies to recognise the important role the media plays in the democratic development of the country and accord them the necessary respect they deserved.
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