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26.07.2005 General News

GJA condemns "over-zealousness" of security ...


...for detention of TV crew Accra, July 26, GNA - The Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) on Tuesday condemned the over-zealousness, acts of intimidation and lack of proper discretion by security personnel on duty at the President's residence when they arrested a television crew taking pictures of a hotel, whose purchase is at the centre of a controversy.

"In our view, the television crew did not breach any ethical standards since they filmed in the open and by straightforward means," a statement signed by the President of the GJA, Ms Adjoa Yeboah-Afari said.

"They were also in uniform and using a marked vehicle. In our view, the fact that they did not seek permission did not warrant the ordeal they were subjected to. A warning should have sufficed.

"And we think it would have been useful if there had been a clear signpost prohibiting people, including journalists, from taking photographs in that area."

A three-member crew of TV Africa - Ms Soyokuor Quarcoo-Tchire, Mr. Mark Antim and Mr Samuel Nii Laryea had gone to film the uncompleted hotel close to the president's residence last Friday for footage for a press conference by the Acting Commissioner for Human Rights and Administrative Justice, Ms Anna Bossman.

The TV crew said although they had gone only to film the hotel from a distance, they were detained for about two hours, partially harassed and not allowed to contact their office or any person by phone.

They were released only after the security personnel who were taking them to the BNI had received a call asking them to do so. The GJA said it was happy that an investigation was being conducted by the police into the whole incident and expressed the hope that the necessary corrective measures would be taken to ensure that such incidents that tarnish democracy did not occur.

"We wish to commend the Inspector General of Police and the Police Administration for coming out to apologise to the crew and any other affected persons for any inconveniences caused by the incident. "It was a very honourable, historic gesture that the GJA fully appreciates and we hope that it restores the growing cordial relations between the media and the police."