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General News of Friday, 21 May 2021

Source: GNA

NMC commences investigation into alleged assault on Caleb Kudah

George Sarpong, Executive Secretary, NMC George Sarpong, Executive Secretary, NMC

The National Media Commission (NMC) has begun an investigation into the alleged manhandling of two Citi FM journalists, Caleb Kudah and Zoe Abu-Baidoo.

This was announced by the Executive Secretary of the Commission, Mr George Sarpong, in an interview with the media in Accra, on Thursday.

He said the Commission had received a petition from the Accra-based radio station, which had been forwarded to the National Security Ministry in accordance with the principle of natural justice.

“We have submitted the petition to the National Security Ministry for their comment and we have indicated the timeline,” he said.

"We expect that they will provide us with their responses before the 24th of this month. After that, we will meet with the parties on the 26th of May for the hearing.

"Our hope is that in that meeting we should be able to conclude with the issues involved.”

This comes at the back of an ongoing internal investigation by the National Security Ministry itself.

In a statement issued on May 13, 2021, and signed by its Chief Director, Lieutenant Colonel Ababio Serebour (Rtd), the intelligence-gathering organisation took note of the allegations of alleged brutalities against the journalists and said it had commenced investigations into it.

However, responding to the issue of how the ongoing investigations at the National Security Ministry would affect the Commission’s own investigations, Mr. Sarpong said the NMC’s investigation was an independent one.

“The Commission is bent on assessing the issue separately and provide the way forward,” he stated.

He assured journalists of the Commission’s support through the newly created office of the Coordinated Mechanism for the Safety of Journalists to investigate, validate and take the necessary actions on assaults of journalists.

He called for support for the Office, emphasising that the office would do all it could to guarantee the safety of journalists.

“We want every journalist in this country to see this as a game-changer once the constitution guarantees them the rights to do their work and offers them constitutional protection,” he said.

“This is the first time that we have been able to set up a mechanism that achieves that purpose of protecting the safety of journalists.

“So, I want all of us to see the novelty of it and to rally behind the idea because ultimately, our collective safety as journalists, will depend on how well we all work together to make the mechanism work.”