The United Press for Development Network and Press for Justice Coalition, UPDN – PJC has said it will not rest until police render a proper unqualified apology and punish officers who brutalized Rite FM journalist, Omanba Kodwo Boafo and Eastern Regional Correspondent of Radio XYZ, Bernert Yaovi on Thursday.
“The Somanya Police Command must immediately fish out culprits of this heinous act to face the full rigors of the laws of the country or face our wrath,” the Network’s President, Kofi Asante Mensah said in a press release on Friday.
Mr Asante also said, “The Somanya Police Command must within forty eight (48) hours render a proper unqualified apology to Rite FM, Radio XYZ and the Media.”
The statement signed by Kofi Asante Mensah regretted the spate at which press freedom was under severe attack in the country “by some lawless law officers working with the Ghana Police Service.”
“We at United Press for Development Network and Press for Justice Coalition are overwhelmed at the rapid and sudden development of constant violence against Media persons by security agents and fear for the future,” the statement said.
Some police officers Thursday afternoon subjected Rite FM’s Omanba Kodwo boafo and Eastern regional correspondent of Radio XYZ, Bernert Yaovi to severe beatings at the launch of the 2018 Kloyosikplemi festival by the Yilo Krobo Traditional Council.
Their crime was simply that they were taking photographs of police arrests of a mob that had gone to disrupt the activity.
Speaking to Rite news in an interview Boafo who doubles as sit-in-host of rite FM’s Morning Ride show says he got to the event grounds in the afternoon where he joined other colleague journalists who had gathered at the scene.
“A colleague journalist and I were at the venue taking video recordings of the arrests of some thugs who had stormed the venue to disrupt the launch of the festival,” Boafo recounts.
But their seemingly harmless actions attracted the ire of the police personnel dispatched to the scene who queried the two media men on why they were taking the video shots.
The Morning Show host said his explanation that they were media personnel was the straw that broke the camel’s back as the police attacked he and his colleague.
“One of the policemen slapped me three times before the others joined in the assault,” Boafo recounted. “They then bundled me into the police vehicle and handcuffed me.”
This harrowing ordeal, according to Boafo did not end there as the police again pounced on him at the station with hefty blows to his head soon upon alighting from the police vehicle, adding that the law enforcers treated him like a criminal.
The duo had their phones, recorders, wrist watches among others damaged in the assault.
It took the intervention of a senior police personnel to ensure Boafo’s release where he went to the Atua Government hospital for medical attention.
He had swollen face and bruises all over his body.
Municipal Chief Executive for Yilo Krobo, Hon Ebenezer Tetteh Kupualor visited Boafo on Friday at his home to commiserate with him.
The United Press for Development Network and Press for Justice Coalition says it is disheartening to note that journalists would continue to be assaulted in the discharge of their legitimate responsibilities.
The group is therefore among other demands insisting that the Somanya Police Command must within forty eight (48) render a proper unqualified apology to Rite FM, Radio XYZ and the Media and to immediately fish out culprits of this heinous act to face the full rigors of the laws of the country or “face its wrath.”
The assault of the Rite FM journalist and his colleague from Radio XYZ by police personnel comes at a time of deteriorating relations between Ghanaian news outlets and the Ghana Police Service following several reported cases of assault on news men.
Commentators have expressed bewilderment and concern about what they said amounted to an increasingly ugly climate in a country with a proud history of press freedom.