Once again, the Nana Akufo-Addo government has come under a severe public backlash over reports that National Security operatives have physically assaulted yet another journalist, after he was arrested in Rambo style from his place of work.
There is a united condemnation of the physical assault he suffered though opinions differ on his style of work.
Such incidents are becoming one too many and when summed up, becomes a black spot in the press freedom records of the current government headed by Nana Akufo-Addo; a human rights lawyer who has hitherto been touted as a hero of press freedom in Ghana after he personally advocated for the repel of the draconian Criminal Libel Law.
When a person with such an impressive human rights records becomes President of a country, continuous reports of state security operatives invading media houses, picking up unarmed journalists and beating the pulp out of their hapless bodies should not be tolerated. It is pure nonsense that must stop.
But it is continuing and the most recent incident where the victim was Mr. Caleb Kudah in the employ of Citi FM and Citi TV certainly leaves a sore taste in one’s mouth.
This certainly is not an impressive testimonial for the Nana Addo government.
The continuous nature of such incidents ought to be checked and addressed with a sense of urgency.
The New Publisher can only lay the blame on the doorsteps of the Minister responsible for National Security, Mr. Albert Kan Dapaah. He may send his boys to pick us up and beat us up for speaking this truth but it would only vindicate our position. And make us yell louder.
Kan Dapaah needs to sit up and demonstrate some genuine commitment that the government he serves is against such lawless attitudes from state security officials.
Beating up of arrested journalists or any other person for that matter is certainly not accepted in any decent democracy. It is crass lawlessness and must stop.
Not too long ago, the same National Security forces, from Mr. Kan Dapaah’s outfit invaded the offices of Modern Ghana and arrested the editor Emmanuel Ajarfor Abugri and one of the company’s reporters Emmanuel Yeboah Britwum.
The editor, after his release recounted a horrific narration of how he was beaten and tortured with electric shock while in the custody of the National Security forces.
His reporter, Emmanuel Britwum, almost a year on, still has his personal phones, laptop and other working gadgets in the custody of National Security for no apparent reason. Only God can tell if his properties would ever be returned to him.
The public backlash, then, just as in the current case of Caleb Kudah, was loud and directed at government. It erodes the goodwill the public has for the Nana Addo government.
But why would Mr. Kan Dapaah be bothered about such a back lash when it is not his face that would be on the ballot paper come elections?
His strategy has been to issue press statements, which looks like a template expect for a change of names and dates and then say the reports of assault would be investigated. It ends there. End of story.
This same government is yet to find answers to the death of Ahmed Hussein-Suale, a Ghanaian investigative journalist who was shot dead near his family home in an assassination believed to be because of his journalistic work.
How long would this continue? Perhaps, Kan Dapaah is waiting for the day a journalist would be beaten to death while in the custody of National Security operatives before he would wake from his slumber and know that his style of running the National Security outfit is making it seem Ghana has returned to the PNDC regime.