A group of police officers on February 3, 2022, brutally assaulted Eric Nana Gyetuah, a radio presenter with Connect FM based in Takoradi, capital of the Western Region of Ghana, leaving him with a damaged eardrum.
The victim, who is also the producer of Connect FM’s morning show, had gone to eat lunch at a local restaurant at Pipe Ano, a suburb of Takoradi when a group of armed men in plainclothes came in together with some suspects in handcuffs. The scene frightened some of the people in the restaurants with a few leaving in panic. The suspects who managed to eat while still in handcuffs went out ahead of the escorting security officers.
Intrigued by what had attracted a lot of curious eyes, Nana Gyetuah started filming the suspects from a discreet distance and location at the car park. He was in the process of filming when one of the security officers accosted him and asked him to surrender his phone.
“I refused his request because I did not know what he wanted to do with the phone. Then he started assaulting me before calling his colleagues to join in the assault,” Gyetua narrated to the MFWA.
The victim eventually surrendered the phone after enduring a blitz of kicks, slaps, and smashes with the butt of the gun. The police then threw their bleeding victim into the bucket of one of their pick-up vehicles and drove him away to the Police station.
The assault left Gyetua with a bloated face and tattered clothes with some discharges dripping from his ears.
The police accused Gyetua of unlawfully taking pictures of the suspects and pressed public order charges against him. He was detained for four hours before being released on bail after the intervention of the Management of Connect FM.
The presenter received treatment at the Effia Nkwanta Hospital in Takoradi with a medical form issued by the police. Doctors at the regional hospital referred him for specialist treatment at a medical facility in Accra. Gyetua told the MFWA doctors fear he could lose the use of his right ear as the eardrum has been affected.
Meanwhile, the radio presenter says from the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr Akuffo Dampare has called to sympathise with him and assure him of a thorough investigation into the matter. Following this, The Director-General of the Police Professional Standards Bureau (PPSB), ACP Ms Lydia Yaako Donkor, got in touch with the journalist and directed him to the PPSB of Western Regional Police. He was invited to write a statement on February 12, but decided, upon his lawyer’s advice, to pick the form and return the completed form later.
This is the second time in three months that a presenter at Connect FM has had trouble with the police. On November 1, the host of the station’s morning show, Nhyiraba Paa Kwesi Simpson was detained on charges of causing fear and alarm. This was after a listener called into the morning show and made a claim (which was later found to be false) that his girlfriend had been kidnapped.
The Media Foundation for West Africa condemns the brutal police assault on Nana Jetuah and urges the IGP to ensure that his promise to get the matter investigated is fulfilled with justice done. We are appalled at this umpteenth police abuse of a journalist for filming their activities. Unless they obstruct police operations, journalists and citizens break no law in filming police operations carried out in public. The police authorities must therefore call their officers to order in that regard.