Ghana: Police Storm Radio Station, Assault Two Media Workers
On 5 August 2008, police officers stormed the premises of Radio Gold, an Accra-based pro-opposition FM station, and assaulted a number of individuals, including a station employee and a newspaper graphic designer. Fred Ayensu Lindsay, the station's financial controller, and Mohammed Caliph, a graphic designer for the "Daily Guide" privately-owned newspaper, were assaulted and Lindsay was briefly detained at the Dansoman police station in Accra.
MFWA's correspondent reported that the incident occurred after Radio Gold interviewed an activist for the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP). The activist was brought to the station by members of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) who accused him of engaging in electoral fraud in the ongoing national voters' registration exercise.
The interview drew a large crowd to the radio station, including an NPP official who was unhappy that the suspect was not handed over to the police instead. The official decided to unilaterally turn over the suspect to the police. However, this did not go down well with the NDC supporters and resulted in confusion.
According to MFWA's correspondent, at that moment the police stormed the station and began beating people indiscriminately. Lindsay, who was speaking on his cell phone, was assaulted for allegedly filming the incident, and taken to the police station. He was later accused of obstructing the work of the police. The police have since denied that they went to the station to harass the journalists, saying they were called to the area because of an armed robbery.
There has been widespread condemnation of the police action. The Ghana Journalists' Association (GJA) has appealed to the public to resort to the National Media Commission if they have any grievances with the media.
Media Foundation for West Africa (Accra) 11 August 2008