The Civil Society Organisation (CSO), Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) and pressure group, OccupyGhana have on their individual accord called on the government to launch an independent investigation into the alleged brutalisation and appalling treatment meted out to CitiFM/CTV Caleb Kudah by some officers of the National Security.
CCD-Ghana in particular is calling on the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) to handle the investigation and many other incidents of assault on journalists by members of security agencies and bring the perpetrators to justice, in accordance with Article 218 of the Constitution.
The Centre, however, advised the government to endeavour to implement the recommendations of the Emile Short Commission report with respect to streamlining the structure and operations of national security agencies, including but not limited to the training of officers of security agencies to internalise and respect human rights in their activities.
Contained in a statement released on Friday, the Centre condemned the armed invasion of Citi FM premises and the attempted arrest of its reporters, Caleb and Zoe Abu-Baidoo, without regard to the arrest protocol stated by law, which outlaws the arrest of persons in such situations without a court warrant and caution.
To the Centre, the happenings between security and civilians is a clear demonstration of propensity of law enforcement officers to assault journalists with impunity and complete disregard for rights and freedoms of journalists in the pursuit of their constitutional duty.
It further went on to state that “journalist using surreptitious means to uncover and expose wrongdoing is unethical and therefore warrants brutal assault by National Security operatives is as absurd as it is undemocratic. The National Security Ministry, a public institution, cannot be immune to public scrutiny and transparency in its operations.”
CDD-Ghana, without treating the issue with kid gloves said “the failure of the relevant State institutions to effectively investigate these frequent assaults on journalists and hold the perpetrators accountable demonstrates a growing trend of complete disregard for the rule of law and fundamental human rights. CDD-Ghana condemns this worrying development which continues to undermine press freedom in an emerging democracy such as ours.”
Occupy Ghana on its part urged the government to institute an independent body of inquiry to investigate allegations of assault and brutality at the hands of National Security operatives.
“We are appalled and disgusted, and when proven true by an independent body, we demand that the perpetrators so named, be charged with nothing less than the crime of attempted murder, tried, convicted, jailed, and dismissed from the employment of the government without any benefits.”
Caleb and Zoe were allegedly arrested by armed National Security operatives in a “Rambo style” by invading the premises of Citi FM in connection with a video and pictures that had allegedly been taken at the premises of the National security.