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General News of Tuesday, 29 December 2020


2020 in Review: Journalists arrested, harassed for their work in 2020

David Tamakloe and Mannaseh Azure are two of numerous victims in 2020 David Tamakloe and Mannaseh Azure are two of numerous victims in 2020

The whole of chapter 12 of Ghana’s 1992 Constitution is dedicated to ensure the freedom and independence of the media.

Over the years, media rights organisations and institutions have advocated for the creation of an enabling environment for persons in the media to practice freely and governments over the years have also played various roles in ensuring same.

However, there has been recurrent records of attacks, intimidation, arrests and sometimes assassination of journalists in the country.

GhanaWeb as part of its assessment of 2020 has put together a list of journalists who were victims of the aforementioned during the year:

Watsup News Editor:

The Managing Editor of Whatsup News, a virtual newspaper was picked up by police on October 7, 2020.

David Tamakloe was picked up by the Police after an arrest warrant was obtained from New Edubiase Circuit Court to that effect, following his failure to honour a police invitation.

Mr. Tamakloe’s platform published a story that suggested that minority groups in New Edubiase including Ewes and Northerners were being targeted by the government during the voters’ registration exercise.

GhanaWeb reporters attacked at NDC headquarters:

Two reporters of GhanaWeb were attacked by irate youth who are believed to be supporters of the National Democratic Congress at the party’s headquarters.

The head of GhanaWeb’s political desk Laud Adu Asare and videographer Sandra Obiribea survived by the skin of their teeth as the unruly supporters assaulted them as they tried to find their way to the party’s conference room for a scheduled press conference.

A traumatized Laud Adu Asare had his shirt torn with bruises on his left arm from the assault.

But for the intervention of a kind-hearted individual, the worse would have happened to Sandra Obiribea.

The gentleman who is a member of the NDC’s media team spotted the two and the impending danger and shielded Sandra from the knife-wielding hooligans.

Court issues bench warrant for arrest of Power FM journalist:

Oheneba Boamah Bennie, a radio host with Accra-based power FM was invited by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), following a viral video in which the said journalist allegedly threatened the president and hurled insults at him over claims that he (President) was meeting some justices of the Supreme Court over a possible election petition.

After honouring the police invitation, the Ghana Police Service released a statement indicating he was going to be kept in custody pending further investigations.

He was discharged from police custody after his lawyers initially said they had been denied access to their client.

The Attorney General however filed a case of contempt against him in court. The A-G made a case that through his publication, Bennie wants to tell the public that judges, including the justices of the apex court, decide cases not independently but by taking directives from the President.

Such an assertion, the A-G argued, if allowed to go unpunished, would amount to gross disrespect for the judiciary, which is a violation of the 1992 Constitution.

Tizaa FM journalist beaten by thugs:

On June 20, 2020, some political party thugs assaulted journalist Macbadara Romanus of Tizaa FM in the North East Regional capital, Nalerigu during his coverage of the primaries of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP).

During voting some altercation erupted between the NPP Regional Chairman, Nurudeen Fuseini, and an agent of Dr. Mohammed Sampah, who was contesting Hajia Alima Mahama, the then Member of Parliament of Nalerigu and Local Government and Rural Development Minister.

Macdabara told the MFWA that, the Municipal Chief Executive of Sagnarigu, Mariam Iddrisu accused him of filming the scuffle and ordered some thugs to seize his phone. The MCE had come to Nalerigu to support the incumbent. According to the journalist, the MCE’s order was immediately carried out by the thugs who kicked and punched him after shoving him to the ground.

PAD FM journalist attacked:

PAD FM in Damango, journalist Abraham Ananpansah with in the Savanah Region was ambushed and attacked for reporting on an incident of violence at a registration centre.

Ananpansah who doubles as the Assemblyman in the Canteen Electoral Area, reported on July 2, 2020, that one Atabia Anoma Rahim, Deputy Organiser of the NPP attacked an observer for the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) with a stool at a registration centre.

“Minutes after my follow-up report, I got a call from a strange number who identified himself as Anoma Atabia Rahim. All I could hear was,” When I catch you, I will deal mercilessly with you,” Ananpansah said. The threat was carried out four days later by seven men led by Atabia.

The journalist told the MFWA he reported the threats to the police after three people confirmed that Atabia had openly sworn at the registration centre to “deal with him.”

Manasseh receives death threats:

Freelance investigative journalist, Manasseh Azure Awuni has consistently received death threats, with the latest being an email from an unknown person threatening to eliminate him like a rat after he published his latest article titled “ERRORtoral Commission and Akufo-Addo’s coup d’état’.

In the said article, the journalist tried to explore the anomalies with the Techiman South parliamentary results which are in contention and the EC's denial of the people of Santrokofi, Akpafu, Lolobi and Likpe (SALL) areas their fundamental human right to equal representation in Parliament.

Manasseh Azure suggested that if these issues are not solved urgently, it will be tantamount to a “coup against the legislative arm of government.”

Speaking on Joy News’ Newsfile, Manasseh Azure Awuni disclosed that the latest threat came in the form of an email where the sender stated that he [Manasseh] was “lucky to still be walking a free man.”

TV3 reporters threatened at Tema:

On 12 August, 2020, according to media reports, Sanley Nii Blewu and Joseph Amstrong, two TV3 reporters, were threatened at the Tema Station in Accra where they were on duty to file a television report on sanitation.

Security personnel comprising some soldiers, police and members of the AMA taskforce forced the journalists to delete the images they took.

One of the two journalists alleged that one of the soldiers used his boots to hit the chest of his fellow journalist, smashed his camera, took his phone and took him into custody.

Kingdom FM journalist:

On 20 June, police harassed and arrested a journalist briefly for taking pictures at NPP primaries. The journalist, Rebecca Asheley Armarh, was reporting in Tema Manhean for the Kingdom FM.

Zuria FM journalist attacked and beaten:

On 5 April 2020, Yusuf Abdul-Ganiyu, Managing Director of Zuria FM and Deutsche Welle correspondent was attacked and beaten by a member of the security forces while he was in Kumasi, North-Western Ghana, to cover the effectiveness of the Coronavirus lockdown.