A former Minister of state in charge of Tertiary Education under erstwhile Kufuor government has condemned the manner in which two journalists of online news portal, Modernghana, were arrested by operatives of national security.
The act of storming the offices of media organizations to arrest journalists with armed police personnel is “crude and unnecessary”, Ms Elizabeth Ohene opined.
Her comment was in reference to the arrest and detention of the editor of Modernghana, Emmanuel Ajarfor Abugri and his colleague Emmanuel Yeboah Britwum on June 27 in Accra.
Mr. Ajarfor later alleged he was tortured while in the custody of the National Security. The claims was dismissed in an unsigned statement by the National Security.
Wading into the arrest at the Media General thought leadership forum on Tuesday July 9, Madam Elizabeth Ohene who is a former Editor of state-owned Daily Graphic was categorical, “I do not like the idea of security agencies going to pick up journalists from their offices. It is crude and unnecessary”.
The forum was under the theme: “The State of Media Freedom in Ghana: A Critical Look at Contemporary Journalism, the Public Interest & Security of the State”.
Madam Ohene has however admonished the media to be responsible for whatever they publish, cautioning against putting out stories without ascertaining their veracity.
She was concerned about the tendency of the media “refusing” to cross check before going public and ending up tarnishing people’s image and “reducing them to nothing” out of media “recklessness”.
Initial report on the arrest of Modernghana journalists said the portal carried a story on the National Security Minister, Albert Kan Dapaah but were later instructed to pull it down, which they obliged.
Having worked at the BBC for 14 years, Ms. Ohene said she was “thoroughly alarmed” when the editor of the portal said he did not know the author of the piece, contact or address that can be traced to the author.
“Media should be responsible whatever they choose to publish,’ she asserted.
It later emerged that the two were arrested for engaging in cyber crime, but when they were put before court, the two including a journalist from another media house were discharged the same day.
Read: Hacking: Peace FM and MordernGhana editors discharged
By Isaac Essel | 3news.com