The Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) has described the arrest of Whatsup News editor David Tamakloe by the police as “unconstitutional” and an action that “undermines the values of our democracy.”
A statement signed by the GJA president Affail Monney and issued on Thursday, 8 October 2020, noted with concern how he was arrested in the course of his journalistic work.
According to the GJA, the 1992 Constitution allows “persons who feel aggrieved by any media content to complain to the National Media Commission (NMC).”
The GJA, therefore, urged “anybody concerned about Mr Tamakloe's work to report him to the NMC.”
While condemning the police action, the GJA noted that it will ensure that justice is served.
Civil society organisation, Alliance for Social Equity and Public Accountability (ASEPA) and the Private Newspaper and Online Publishers Association of Ghana (PRINPAG), have, so far, condemned the act.
Mr Tamakloe, who is also the Vice-President of the PRINPAG, was arrested by the Tesano police on Wednesday afternoon.
He was then moved to New Edubiase in the Ashanti Region later in the evening.
Mr Tamakloe was said to have filed a report that alleged that Ewes and various citizens from northern Ghana living in New Edubiase were being intimidated by supporters of the incumbent New Patriotic Party (NPP).
Mr Tamakloe was brought before court today Thursday, 8 October 2020.
He granted bail to the tune of GHS10, 000 with two sureties by the New Edubiase Magistrate Court in the Ashanti Region today. He was also slapped with two counts of publishing false news.
“I wasn’t manhandled but was put in handcuffs from Accra all the way to the Ashanti Region over the coverage of a press conference by the NDC during the new voter ID card registration where the party made the allegation,” David Tamakloe told Ghanaweb in an interview minutes after his bail was posted.
“I have been ordered to reappear in court on 22 October,” he added.
Read the full GJA statement below:
GJA DENOUNCES ARREST OF DAVID TAMAKLOE
The Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) is deeply concerned about the arrest of David Tamakloe, Vice President of the Private Newspaper Publishers Association of Ghana (PRINPAG) for publishing a story in his Whatsup Newspaper about the alleged harassment of minority ethnic groups in New Edubiase.
The 1992 constitution guarantees freedom of expression and creates avenues for persons who feel aggrieved by any media content to complain to the National Media Commission (NMC).
To the extent that Mr Tamakloe's arrest relates to his journalistic work, the GJA believes the police action is unconstitutional and undermines the values of our democracy.
We urge anybody concerned about Mr Tamakloe's work to report him to the NMC.
As we prepare for our eighth democratic elections, the last thing our nation wants is wrongful application of police authority that derails Ghana's democratic ascendancy. This, indeed, is the reason why most Africans still revere H.E President Akufo-Addo for leading efforts to repeal the obnoxious criminal libel laws from our statute books. Neither the police nor any person or institution within the security apparatus should act in a way that embarasses the nation.
The GJA will continue to follow, with all-consuming attention, these disturbing developments until justice is expeditiously served to assuage the concerns ignited by the circumstances and timing of Mr Tamakloe's arrest and prosecution.
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