Regional News of 2014-04-14

TV3 Camera seized by military

Journalists in the Sekondi-Takoradi metropolis have threatened to stay away from the activities of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) following the alleged heckling of cameramen and seizure of the camera of the Western Regional Correspondent of TV3 - an independent television station based in Accra – Mr. Ebenezer Kwame Abaka, aka Ebenac, by a military man last Friday.

This was during the passing out parade of about 248 recruits of the Ghana Air Force at the Takoradi Air Force base.

Briefing DAILY GUIDE on how the incident occurred, Abaka said that he was invited via phone to cover the parade at the end he was even picked by a military vehicle from his house to the programme.

According to him, because he was in a hurry, he forgot to pick his identification (ID) card, adding that when he got to the parade grounds, he started filming the proceedings but all of a sudden, a soldier approached him and inquired where he was coming from.

“I told him I am a TV3 correspondent and he asked me to produce my ID card but I told him unfortunately, I was in a rush so I could not pick my ID card”, Ebenac told DAILY GUIDE.

The TV3 reporter indicated that the military man immediately started heckling and embarrassing him and asked him to hand over the camera to him (the soldier) in the full glare of some of the soldiers around.

“I did not want further embarrassment from the military man and so I handed over the camera to him and later looked for the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the 2 Garrison who assisted me to retrieve the camera from the soldier”, Ebenac narrated.

He continued, “I then left the parade grounds without covering the programme”.

Military PRO

When contacted, the PRO of the 2 Garrison in the Western Region, Captain Linda Oboh, asserted that she was aware of the incident and that she personally went with the TV3 correspondent to retrieve the camera.

She told DAILY GUIDE that she later apologized to the reporter on her own behalf and on behalf of the Air Force Base Commander. She described what happened as “unfortunate.”

Journalists’ Threat

The Western Regional branch of the Ghana Journalists’ Association (GJA) has expressed its displeasure of the poor reception the military command accorded the invited media houses to the parade.

A statement signed by its Secretary, Godwill Arthur-Mensah, stated, “The association is not happy about the way the military handled our colleague at the parade ground in view of the fact that it was the Garrison Command that invited him to the function”.

The statement added that the pavilion designated to the media was re-allocated to other guests and so journalists who were supposed to cover the event had to stand in the scorching sun for some time.

“Interestingly, when a female reporter tried to identify herself to an officer in uniform, the officer aggressively retorted ‘You’re from the media and so what?’” the GJA recalled.

The Regional GJA indicated that the media in the region had had cordial relationship with the military for years and that the association was dismayed with the recent repulsive attitude of the GAF against members of the inky fraternity.

The GJA has therefore demanded an unqualified apology from the GAF for the embarrassment caused to its members in the region, else the media would stay away from their activities for the safety of the journalists.