The Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications has called for an independent investigation into the alleged abuse of Citi FM journalist Caleb Kudah by National Security officials.
Speaking on Newsfile, Ken Ashigbey said that although the National Security Ministry says it has launched an investigation into the accusations leveled against its officials, he does not buy the argument that they can independently investigate themselves.
He explained that on many occasions, nothing has come out of investigations conducted by security agencies.
“It is a way to tell you to just keep quiet, because, when you follow up they will tell you that they are investigating. I am currently dealing with one (investigation). We were at the military high command and they told us that they’ve done some investigation.”
“But, I told the Major General clearly that I left that meeting more confused than when I came in. We cannot expect people to be investigating themselves,” he told Samson Lardy Anyenini, host of the show.
Mr Agshibey revealed the investigation involved JoyNews’ Erastus Asare Donkor who had his camera and recorders tampered with, while he was working on the expose on some military men who were neck-deep in illegal mining (galamsey) activities in the Ashanti Region.
The Convener of the Media Coalition against Galamsey stated that even though the military says they had investigated the case, they failed to call Erastus for his side of the story during the said investigation.
“So, if they investigate the Caleb incident just at their end, really you would not solve it. I think it is in the interest of Ghana and the interest of all of us that this is an independent investigation.”
Suggesting some independent bodies, Mr Ashigbey said that Parliament or the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) can be tasked to conduct an independent investigation into the alleged abuse.
Last Tuesday, National Security operatives detained Citi FM Journalist Caleb Kudah for allegedly filming state vehicles on the premises of the National Security Ministry. He was later released after questioning.
The Citi FM reporter on Wednesday revealed that he was slapped multiple times during his interrogation despite pleading to be released after he admitted to filming at the National Security premises in Accra.
Following his account, the National Security Ministry stated that it had initiated investigations into the alleged assault.
In a statement signed by the Chief Director of the Ministry, Lt. Col. Ababio Serebour (RTD.), the Ministry said, “ we take with all seriousness, the allegations of manhandling of the two journalists during the interrogations.”
Meanwhile, Mr Ashibey said that if state agencies are unable to probe cases of assault on journalists brought before them, media owners and practitioners should seek the help of international bodies.
“One of the things we should be seeking to do is to start elevating this conversation from just the civil suit and going to the West African Court. We have seen it happen in The Gambia. We need to start elevating it,” he told host, Samson Lardy Anyenini.
“So if you have a situation where Latif is assaulted by a state institution and Pious was shot by a national security operative, we need to start saying that if it will not be dealt with nationally, let’s go internationally and then it would force our national body to start dealing with this situation,” he stated.