Appiah Kubi- CTV morning show host
The Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) is one of the most useless organisations in Ghana, CTV’s Dwabre Mu morning show host Kwame Appiah Kubi has asserted.
He gave the damning verdict of the Affail Monney-led association during the newspaper review segment of the show on Tuesday, 14 July 2020, while discussing a story in which the bodyguard of the Member of Parliament for Evalue-Ajomoro Gwira Constituency, Mrs Catherine Afeku, attacked Metro TV Cameraman Alhaji Mustapha Ashley and deleted all the footages he had taken outside the premises of a court in the Western Region, with the permission of the court clerk, prior to the hearing of a case involving Mr Seth Afeku, the husband of the former Minister of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts.
In a statement signed by Mr Zambaga Rufai Saminu, Western Regional Secretary (GJA), the association for journalists and media practitioners condemned the “unprovoked” attack on the Cameraman as an “affront to press freedom”.
“We want to remind the police and the minister of state that we are in a democratic era and, therefore, the era of tyranny and ‘political kakistocracy’ belongs to the past”, adding: “We are shocked that after recent adaptation of a framework on Police Media Relations and safety of journalists in the country, the Axim Police-supervised seizure and deletion of a reporter’s professional work could not be anything less than an attack on press freedom”.
In a furious reaction, however, the CTV host said: “The GJA is one of the most useless organisations in Ghana”.
Explaining his outburst, Kwame Appiah Kubi said: “Journalists constantly get battered and the best they [GJA] can do is issue a statement: ‘We so so and so’. What sort of rubbish is that?”
“For how many years will journalists get assaulted in Ghana and the best thing the GJA is able to do is issue a statement?” he wondered.
“When was the last time the GJA took lawyers just to fight for journalists in this country?” he asked.
In his view, the GJA has now been taken over by politicians.
“And the association has been turned into a political group infiltrated by the political parties”.
“It is one of the most useless institutions in Ghana”, he emphasised.
“I’ve said it. If you’re a member of the GJA, then I don’t think you know what you’re about”, Kwame Appiah Kubi added.
Appiah Kubi’s co-host, Anomonyam Okyere, however, disagreed with him, insisting that the GJA was not a useless group of people.
Read below the GJA’s full statement:
- GJA CONDEMNS UNPROVOKED ATTACK ON METRO TV CAMERAMAN
The Western Regional branch of the Ghana Journalists Association (Western-GJA) is calling for the immediate arrest of the bodyguard of the Member of Parliament for Evalue-Ajomoro Gwira Constituency and Minister State at the Presidency for assaulting Metro TV Cameraman and deletion of video footage from his camera.
The Cameraman, Alhaji Mustapha Ashley was among other journalists covering a court case involving Seth Afeku, the husband of the Evalue-Ajomoro-Gwira MP and one Angate Borzar who was arrested on the orders of Mr Afeku.
After the unfortunate incident, the regional GJA received an official complaint from the Metro TV Cameraman indicating that his camera was seized and video deleted under the supervision of the police without his permission.
Preliminary investigations conducted by the regional GJA revealed that, before the commencement of the court proceedings, the Metro TV Cameraman, Alhaji Mustapha Ashley was taking video footage outside the court premises to support his story since recordings or picture/video inside the courtroom is not allowed.
This was after he had sought permission from the court clerk.
Without any provocation, the said bodyguard identified as (Appiah) who arrived in the company of the MP & Minister of State, Mrs Catherine Afeku and the husband, Seth Afeku, and the Municipal Chief Executive, Frank Okpenyen, upon seeing him (the cameraman) with his camera, the bodyguard rushed, interrupted him and ordered him to hand over Metro TV branded video camera to him.
The refusal of Alhaji Mustapha Ashley to handover his official camera to the bodyguard resulted in a fierce confrontation and heckling, which attracted the intervention of a policeman.
Another senior officer who also arrived asked the cameraman to hand over the camera to the junior police officer which he did.
However, surprisingly, the Member of Parliament for Evalue-Ajomoro Gwira Constituency and Minister State and MCE looked on unconcerned and gracefully walked to take their positions in the courtroom.
It was interesting to note that, after the camera was handed back to the Metro TV Cameraman after the court proceedings, all visuals on the camera were deleted under the supervision of officers of the Ghana Police Service and offered no explanation as to why they tampered with the Metro TV Camera.
The regional GJA, therefore, condemned the attack of Alhaji Mustapha Ashley, while on duty, which is affront to press freedom.
We want to remind the police and the minister of state that we are in a democratic era and therefore the era of tyranny and “political kakistocracy” belongs to the past.
We are shocked that after the recent adaptation of a framework on Police Media Relations and safety of Journalists in the country, Axim Police supervised the seizure and deletion of reporter’s professional work and could not be anything less than an attack on press freedom.
The framework, which identified that despite Ghana’s legal guarantees to freedom of expression and its enviable record of having a good press freedom environment, journalists continue to face challenges such as physical attacks and threats in the discharge of their duties.
We are reminding the Western Regional Police Command of our decades of good working relationship with them and all security agencies. They should therefore not allow their men to be used by the political class to undermine press freedom or curtail the freedom of public unduly.
We know that the cameraman, Alhaji Mustapha Ashley with many years of experience followed the court reporting protocols when it comes to court reporting even to the extent of seeking clearance.
We once again wish to call on the Regional Commander to investigate the said senior officer why he ordered the reporter to hand his camera to the junior officer.
We also want to know who deleted the video footage from the Metro TV Camera and why
Again we want the identity of the said bodyguard established, arrested and made to face the law for abuse of power and ensure that such perpetrators of violations against journalists are punished.
Long live the GJ
Long live Ghana
Zambaga Rufai Saminu
Western Regional Secretary (GJA)
024 452 6151