Prince William Baffour, a journalist of Yankee Radio, a community-based station in the Jaman North District of the Brong Ahafo region of Ghana went into hiding after a magistrate’s court issued a warrant for his arrest.
Baffour had on December 2 been detained for several hours by the police and charged with “publishing information with the intention to cause fear or harm to the public or to disturb the public peace”, under Section 208 of the country’s Criminal Code of 1960.
The charge followed the broadcast of an interview he had of a Ghanaian citizen who was said to have fled the ongoing Ivorian crisis. The man alleged on the station that police were extorting monies from some stranded Ghanaians in Cote d’Ivoire. The interview was relayed on an Accra-based Adom FM radio station.
He was released on bail to reappear on December 9.
Baffour’s lawyer Nana Obiri Boahen , challenging the charge against his client told Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) that despite filing a motion at the court to set aside the arrest warrant, the client is not safe and had to flee to avoid being detained by the police.
Baffour was reportedly detained in the morning of December 2 after he was invited to the premises of the Jaman North District Assembly. He was arrested, handcuffed and processed to the Drobo magistrate court about 50km from Jaman South.
On December 15, Isaac Sarpong, general manager of the Yankee Radio was manhandled by police officers of the station who stormed the station to prevent the station from rebroadcasting the said interview which the police claimed was creating fear and panic in the country.
Sarpong was slapped several times and left with torn clothes.