Government has condemned the attack on three journalists from the New Times Corporation (Ghanaian Times) by police officers last Thursday.
Malik Sullemana, Raissa Sambou and Salifu Abdul Rahman’s assault followed a traffic offence and an accident involving a police officer who was using an unregistered motorcycle and the official Ghanaian Times vehicle, which was transporting the journalists.
The about 10 police officers who were not happy that the journalists had tried to record the accident and the ensuing exchanges between their driver and the police motor rider, pounced on the journalists and physically assaulted them.
Sambuo a lactating mother collapsed and was rushed to the emergency unit of the Ridge Hospital for treatment.
Sulemana who received a chunk of the attack was locked up by the police at the Ministries Police Station but was later released.
According to Sullemana, the officers, while they assaulted him said, "journalists only make noise when they are assaulted and that this one too shall pass."
He also alleged that the beating happened in the presence of a senior policeman of the rank of DSP who urged his men on.
Government finds this despicable.
Addressing journalists in Accra on Sunday, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, the Information Minister, said government has taken a keen interest in the issue and will work with the Interior Minister to ensure that the matter is dealt with.
Sambou, a lactating mother was rushed to the emergency unit of the Ridge Hospital
“It is condemnable. I spoke to the editor of the Ghanaian Times within hours of picking information about the incident and we have asked then to formally write to us so that we quickly engage with the Interior Minister,” he said.
Mr Oppong Nkrumah said the Ministry will then engage with the police service to quicken their investigations and “find the particular officers responsible and ensure that the necessary disciplinary actions are taken.”
“The level of force that police officers are allowed to use is always expected to be reasonable and on probable cause grounds so it is important to have this matter very quickly investigated and the necessary disciplinary sanctions brought to bear,” the Minister added.
The National Media Commission (NMC) has already demanded immediate action from the Police Administration against the officers who assaulted the journalists.
A statement and signed by Chairman of the NMC, Yaw Boadu-Ayisboafoh, also called on the Police Administration to arrest the perpetrators without waiting for the victims to identify the officers involved in the act.
Sullemana’s bloodshot eyes
The Police Administration says it has instituted an investigation into a reported case of assault and motor traffic accident involving a police officer and some journalists from Ghanaian Times.
A statement issued in Accra and signed by Assistant Commissioner of Police David Eklu, the Director General of Public Affairs, said preliminary information gathered does not suggest the journalists were targeted because of their profession but it was a traffic offence which resulted in a scuffle between the journalists and the police officers.
In a related development, the Information Minister has also condemned the recent attack on a police officer by a driver and his mate. He said it is wrong for anyone to attack a police officer.