The Editor-in-chief of the New Crusading Guide newspaper has called for an occasional media blackout of the Ghana Police Service.
Abdul Malik Kweku Baako Jnr made the “very cautious” suggestion because, according to him, the issue of police assaulting journalists has gone on for too long.
He said it was time the media took such a drastic step to put an end to it.
“It is about time civil society groups and the media organisations go beyond the internal discipline measures and what the judiciary process will do to be looking at options,” he said on JoyFM/MultiTV’s news analysis show Newsfile, Saturday.
Malik Sullemana, a court reporter, Raissa Sambou, a general reporter and Salifu Abdul Rahman, an assistant editor all with the Ghanaian Times newspaper who were on their way for the day’s assignment were Thursday morning assaulted by about ten police officers at Kinbu in Accra Central.
This 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 to their various assignment venues.
The about 10 police officers who were unhappy that the journalists had tried to film the accident and the ensuing exchanges between their driver and the police motor rider, pounced on the journalists and physically assaulted them.
Joining many others to condemn the act, the veteran journalist Baako said, “I heard someone say we could boycott, put them on the blacklist for a while…I know it is not the best because we need them and they need us. Whatever information they are putting out there the public needs it.
“It is a very tricky and sloppy road, but sometimes perhaps occasionally, they invite us to their events we don’t go, they bring their press releases, we don’t publish. Not in a regular manner because it can be dangerous.”
He said it is not enough that only three officers are said to have been interdicted when reports have it that 10 persons were involved in the altercation.
Mr Baako said they need to be sanctioned since there is evidence that the journalists did no wrong filming the police officers in a public space engaged in something prohibited.
He argues that the country needs to build a culture of deterrence such that people in uniform do not get power drunk and take the laws into their own hands.