The police stormed a radio station in Ada in the Greater Accra region of Ghana on August 2, 2018 in search of a radio presenter who had made accountability demands of the chiefs of the traditional area.
The presenter, Joseph Korletey Korley, popularly known as DJ Koxterio, raised questions about the lack of accountability from the chiefs regarding proceeds from fundraising activities during the annual traditional festival dubbed: Asafotufiami.
“I had conversation with a friend who tells me he would not contribute any funds to support the Asafotufiami festival since monies meant for the celebration always end up in the pockets of two or three individuals,” the presenter reportedly said.
Following this remark, three riffle-wielding men in uniform and two officers from the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police burst into the station to arrest the presenter. The deputy station coordinator, Noah Dameh, however reportedly intervened to stop the officers from taking Korley away, promising to personally ensure he reports to the station later.
No charges were brought against the radio presenter when he later reported to the police in the company of Mr. Dameh.
In a separate incident involving the security services, a team of police and military officers wielding canes stormed the venue of a press conference called by a youth group, sending the fear-stricken gathering, including journalists, fleeing in different directions. The youth in the Upper East regional capital, Bolgatanga, had called the press to indicate their support for the removal of the Regional Minister, Rockson Bukari, in a recent ministerial reshuffle.
Whilst some bolted into a nearby yard of the Barclays Bank and joined an ATM queue (without any ATM cards on them), others took shelter inside nearby shops and pretended to be shopping. Fortunately no injuries were recorded.
Information indicated the security agencies took that measure to avert the group’s possible clash with another group (loyal to the reshuffled minister) that was massing up nearby.
The MFWA acknowledges the need to avert a violent clash between the two youth groups in Bolgatanga. We, however, condemn the security forces’ use of brazen and unwarranted force to disperse the assembly which included journalists who had nothing to do with the conflict.
We also condemn the invasion of Radio Ada by security forces and the attempted arrest of the radio presenter.
The above incidents both pose potential threats to Freedom of Expression and press freedom.
The Foundation further calls on the security leadership, especially the police, to abide by their recently stated commitment to sustaining dialogue and cooperation and promote the safety of journalists’ situation in the country.