- A crew from 'TV Africa', an Accra-based independent television station, was arrested and detained for two hours by security personnel at President John Agyekum Kufuor's private home. The crew was trying to document the controversial acquisition of a nearby hotel building by the President's son, Chief John Addo Kufuor. The police now have apologised.
According to the Accra-based Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), 'TV Africa' was physically hindered from making its report outside President Kufuor's home. After being detained, the crew members said they were "verbally abused," and one reporter had her identity card removed clumsily and was prevented from calling the television station's office.
Reporter Soyokuor Quarcoo-Tchire, camera operator Mark Ntim and soundman Samuel Nii Laryea were arrested while filming a hotel building that is currently under construction near the Ghanaian President's house. The construction has already caused much controversy in Ghana.
The circumstances surrounding the hotel building's acquisition by Chief John Addo Kufuor, the President's eldest son, are investigated by Ghanaian media and the government. Following demands for an inquiry, the Commission of Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), an independent constitutional body, launched an investigation regarding the circumstances under which the building was purchased, and to find out if the President himself had an interest in the transaction.
Following an address to the press about the investigation by CHRAJ's chairperson, the 'TV Africa' crew decided to take footage of the hotel building for a news segment. The crew however surprisingly was arrested during this coverage. According to Ms Quarcoo-Tchire, the presidential security personnel refused to allow her to call the 'TV Africa' office.
Meanwhile, Inspector General of Police Patrick Kwarteng Acheampong at a news conference in Accra apologised to the journalists and 'TV Africa' about the incident. "The Police Administration concedes that an unfortunate situation arose because there was misinterpretation of motives on both sides. We are not perfect, sometimes we make regrettable mistakes and this is one of them," he was quoted as saying by MFWA.
The independent 'Ghanaian Times' today reported that Inspector General Acheampong explained that the vigilance of the men on duty was based on "a general security alert issued to all personnel in view of recent crime trends not only in the country but on the global scene." Ghanaian authorities however generally do not interfere when pictures are taken of state buildings, except military installations.
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