Alert Ghana: Television crew detained

A crew of reporters from TV Africa, an independent television station based inAccra was arrested and detained for about two hours by security personnel at the private home of the President of Ghana, John Agyekum Kufuor. The reporters say they were verbally abused and one of them had her identity card removed clumsily and prevented from calling the office. Soyokuor Quarcoo-Tchire, a reporter, Mark Ntim, a cameraman and Samuel Nii Laryea, a soundman, were arrested while taking a film of an uncompleted hotel building near the President’s house.

The circumstances of the acquisition of the hotel building by Chief John Addo Kufuor, the first son of the Ghanaian President, had been a matter of major national controversy. As a result of the national controversy and demands for an enquiry, the Commission of Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), an independent constitutional body, has initiated an investigation regarding the circumstances under which the building was purchased, and to find out if the President himself has an interest in the transaction.Following an address to the press by CHRAJ chairperson on the investigation, the crew decided to take footage of the hotel building for their news.

The crew was arrested during this news coverage. According to Quarcoo-Tchire, the security personnel refused to allow her to call the TV Africa office. Meanwhile the Inspector General of Police of Ghana, Patrick Kwarteng Acheampong, has expressed his apologies to the journalists and the TV Africa Company about the incident. “The Police Administration concedes that an unfortunate situation arose because there was misinterpretation of motives of both sides. We are not perfect, sometimes we make regrettable mistakes and this is one of them”, he said.

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