The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin has expressed great concern over the recent arrests of some journalists by the Ghana Police Service (GPS).
According to the Speaker, the development takes the country back to the dark days of media persecution.
“The allegations of misreporting, allegations that can be considered as misdemeanors you proceed to arrest the person hijack the person by the dress the got the person into cells. That belongs to yesteryears not today. Those who know the writings of journalists when it offends them, know what to do. They have recourse to the law. Those are civil matters they are not criminal, I’m not for a moment holding brief for irresponsible and unprofessional conduct of journalists.
“I am simply saying that there is a cure in our current legal regime. The tendency on the part of the Police to arrest journalists for what they describe as mistakes is old school. It’s turning this country into the dark ages of media persecution,” Mr. Bagbin warned during the inauguration of the Media Centre in Parliament on Friday 18th February 2022.
The Police have in recent time arrested some journalists which has sparked concerns over free speech. Media General Radio and TV presenter, Captain Smart was dragged into detention, after being granted bail by a court.
Last Tuesday, another radio presenter, Oheneba Boamah Bennie of Power Fm/TV XYZ was incarcerated for statements he allegedly made against the President. The latest is Accra Fm presenter, Kwabena Bobie Ansah was arrested after his evening show, arraigned before court, and granted bail.
The former Nadowli-Kaleo MP stated that any attempt by politicians to use the police to serve as a regulator for ethical journalism will fail.
“I dare say that any attempt by any politician hiding behind the Police institution to act the ethical and professionalism or the regulator of journalism practice in this country is not only a pretender but also megalomania.
“The police cannot assume responsibility for responsible practice in Ghana by scanning newspapers and news and arresting journalists for errors and misrepresentations. I don’t know how our Police CID was trained that if there is an allegation made against a citizen the first thing is to arrest that citizen. I don’t know where they got that law from.
“We invite the citizen and the citizen would voluntarily appear before you and discuss the situation but when the citizen I refusing or failing to do so. And you have evidence that the citizen wants to escape from the ambit of the law that you can proceed and arrest the citizen,” he added.