The Eastern Region wing of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) is calling on the Inspector General of Police (IGP), the Chief Justice and the Attorney General to intervene in a matter that has resulted in the arrest and detention of an Akwatia-based reporter, Ebenezer Ofori Agyei, popularly known as Odiasempa.
A statement issued by the Eastern Regional GJA explained that Odiasempa was arrested at about 3:00 pm last Wednesday, November 14, on the orders of the Akwatia Police Commander, DSP Yaw Agyekum Dankwa, whom the Association is accusing of abuse against the journalist.
The GJA said Odiasempa was subsequently “charged for impersonation and defamation for which he was hurriedly processed for court without a legal representation and was subsequently remanded by the court”, an act it finds unacceptable.
According to the GJA, they had gathered information that their colleague did a story on an alleged misconduct of the police commander which occasioned the incident.
“According to our enquiry, Odiasempa had gathered information which suggested that DSP Dankwa was allegedly misconducting himself in line of duty which sought to harass residents of Akwatia, especially drivers. The District Commander was alleged to have been demanding bags of cement, fowls etc. from alleged recalcitrant drivers in exchange for their freedom.
“After gathering the negative reports from his sources which included some drivers operating in Akwatia and one of the District Commander’s junior officers, Odiasempa is said to have unsuccessfully used all means to approach the Commander to get his side of the matter,” the statement indicated.
The Association added the reporter went ahead to publish the story without the side of the Commander and that led to his arrest and subsequent detention.
While condemning any acts of unprofessionalism that may have been employed by the journalist, the GJA said “the action of DSP Yaw Agyekum Dankwa is uncalled for and we wish to remind that the days of throwing media workers into jail in a ‘Kangaroo’ style is over”.
The Association is therefore calling on the IGP to call the Commander to order, while also calling on the Chief Justice and Attorney General to investigate circumstances which influenced the Kade Magistrate Court’s decision to remand the reporter.