The Director of Public Affairs of the Ghana Police Service, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Mr David Eklu, says none of the journalists, allegedly attacked in the line of duty since 2006, reported their incidents to the police.
He said feedback from the police stations in the areas in which the incidents happened indicated that not a single one of the cases was reported.
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However, to mark the International Day to End Impunity Against Journalists, some of the journalists told the Daily Graphic that they reported the matter to the police but nothing came out of it.
They include Mr Victor Kwawukume, formerly of the Graphic Communication Group Limited; Mr Geoffrey Buta, a photojournalist with the New Times Corporation; Mr Erastus Asare Donkor of Luv FM in Kumasi; and Ms Gifty Lawson, a photojournalist with the Daily Guide.
The Daily Graphic of March 19, 2019 reported that no single security person had been prosecuted for the attacks on more than 25 journalists and media employees since 2006.
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Although the perpetrators in some of the cases were identified, the cases were settled amicably, sometimes with apologies.
In most cases, however, no compensation was paid, while the security organisation involved promised to offer better working relations with the media.
With regard to prosecution, in some instances, the police told the victims that the dockets on their cases were missing, turning the case into what is known in local parlance, as ‘foolish case’.
Checks by the Daily Graphic revealed a tall list of victims, including reporters, photojournalists, station managers and editors, who had been brutally assaulted by soldiers and policemen.
Some of the attacks have left journalists with serious medical conditions.
After the publication, the then Inspector General of Police, Mr David Asante-Apeatu, and the Interior Minister, Mr Ambrose Dery, directed the police to investigate the cases.
But eight months down the line, ACP Eklu said feedback from the police stations indicated that the cases were not reported.
Journalists must report
He said the police compiled the cases from the Daily Graphic’s publication and the Media Foundation for West Africa and sent it to the areas, but none of the reports could be verified as reported.
“We did follow up but did not get a confirmation from any police station about a report. Journalists who are attacked should make the effort to report the case to the police and insist that they should be given medical report and follow up.
“If you are attacked and you only report in the news media and hold a press conference, the police won’t know and take action, you have to report it,” he said.
But some of the victims insisted that the issue was reported but the police did not show any seriousness in prosecuting their own.
Ho Central Police
Mr Kwawukume said he reported the case to the Ho Central Police Station.
“It is not true that I did not report. Then on what basis did they write back to me rendering an apology and asking for closure to the matter? The issue happened on Sunday and my camera was seized so I had to make a statement regarding what happened, which I did,” he said.
“I am not the one to enter my statement into their records. So if they failed to do that due to reasons best known to them, then so be it. But as far as I know, there was a follow-up by the Regional Commander, who roped in the Regional Minister to intervene,” Mr Kwawukume said.
Ministries Police Station
For her part, Ms Lawson said she reported the case to the Ministries Police Station at a time ASP Joseph Ocloo Gyamera was the Ministries District Police Commander.
She provided his phone as well as that of Chief Inspector Frank Nyarko, who handled the case, to buttress her point.
“My case did not get anywhere. It got to a point where they were just tossing me up and down at the Police Headquarters. Eventually, they said they couldn’t find the docket,” Ms Lawson, recounted the incident which occurred in 2012.
According to a GNA report, Mr Donkor was brutally assaulted when he attempted taking photographs of irate scrap dealers and “Kayaye” protesting against the killing of one Iddrisu Rashid by the police for alleged robbery at Asawase.
Mr Donkor told the Daily Graphic that he reported the case to the Central Police Headquarters in Kumasi, where the police demanded his torn clothes from the incident and scheduled an identification parade for him to identify the perpetrators of the physical abuse.
“I kept enquiring about it from the Public Relations Officer, ASP Mohammed Tanko, but they never organised the parade. They gave me an investigator to handle the case but he tossed me up and down until he was transferred,” he said.
Mr Buta was also beaten in Tamale in March 2014 for trying to take a picture of a confrontation between some military personnel and youth of the area.
He said he reported his case to the Tamale Police Station but it had to take some persuasion before he wrote his statement.
However, he said, nothing came out of it because “it was go and come until I got tired.”
In August this year, a GCGL journalist, Ms Della Russel Ocloo, was attacked on the premises of the Glorious Wave International Church by members of the church while on assignment to cover a demonstration against Prophet Badu Kobi who was accused of making ethnocentric comments.
Ms Ocloo accused the police personnel detailed from the Sakumono Police of manhandling her but when the case was sent to court, only the protocol officer of the church was put before court, the police officers were not indicted.