A journalist is released from security custody after 5 hours. He proceeds to his workplace after his release and is instructed to go home by his superiors and return to work the next day. The next day the journalist is on air(in his station) alleging that he had been tortured whilst in security custody prior to his release.
Prior to his disclosure of having been subjected to physical assault/torture, one of his superiors appeared on a major television network to recount what had happened to him(the arrested journalist) and the events which had transpired at the station of the media house(workplace of the arrested journalist) earlier that day. No hint of the reported physical assault or torture was/is communicated to the audience of the program or the nation.
Apparently, this was because the physical assault or torture was unknown to the superiors of the arrested/incarcerated journalist at that point in time. And this was because the journalist was instructed to go home and rest. And return to work the next day. What if the effects of the reported torture had taken its toll on him the night before? He returns/returned to work the following day to reveal that he was physically assaulted and tortured while in security custody.
And this is reported on his station’s radio and television networks. Some citizens and analysts raise issues and cast doubts on the new twist because of the delay in disclosure of the physical assault. For me the allegation of physical assault or torture was/is a more significant feature of the unfolding saga. I called the management of the station and indicated that the omission of delayed disclosure could have the effect of undermining the credibility of the subsequent disclosure and provide some skeptics and cynics with the basis to cast doubts on the significant disclosure.
The decision not to run with the story of the physical assault or torture timemously was explained to me. I am/was told that there were good reasons for the delay. Emotional trauma among other reasons. I respectfully disagreed. Subsequently, I appear on a high profile program(Joy FM’s high profile/flagship NEWSFILE) and articulate the view that the management’s decision to delay disclosure was/is not the best practice or idea. And that it could reinforce the view that the physical assault or torture story was an afterthought or not factual.
I did not categorically say the torture story was an afterthought or not factual. In such matters, it helps if and when the victim of the alleged or reported physical assault or torture gets a medical examination/report early. Talk to lawyers and ask about the principle of contemporaneity in litigation in our courts of competent jurisdiction and/or established enquiries. Going home to bath and report to work the following day or days could undermine the sanctity of evidence needed to make a case!
Ask the lawyers! This was/is in essence the thrust of my submission on the physical assault or torture aspect of the unfolding story on Newsfile today. Nothing more , nothing less. Fortunately, the host of the program, Samson Anyenini , indicated there were/are some “eye/ear witness accounts” which could help in dealing with matter under reference.
And I expressed my happiness with that detail which was unknown to me. I support the call for a probe by either an “independent” committee or by CHRAJ. That’s non-negotiable. Unfortunately, I am unable to help those who do selective listening/hearing of my submissions and predictably seek to attack me for not saying what they want to hear or use their language(choice of words).
I am not an intellectual coward. And will NEVER be one. Iam not perfect. And will NEVER claim perfection. I speak my mind driven by my conscience, conviction and commitment. Only posterity/history can judge and vindicate me or otherwise! Long live Nkrumah’s Ghana!
By Abdul Malik Kweku Baako|Ghana