The Committee for the Protection of Journalists (CPJ) has demanded the prosecution of police officers involved in the attack on a Ghanaian journalist, Malik Sullemana, on March 14.
The CPJ made the call in a statement on Thursday by its Africa Program Coordinator, Angela Quintal, which was published by the committee on Thursday.
The CPJ described as unwarranted the assault on the journalists and cited a similar attack by police officers in the country, March last year. The CPJ described the attacks as evidences of hostility by police officers against journalists.
“Authorities in Ghana should hold to account the police officers responsible for beating journalist Malik Sullemana, ensure a thorough investigation into their actions, and protect the safety of the press during interactions with police,” the CPJ said.
“There is absolutely no reason for police in Ghana to have assaulted journalist Malik Sullemana, and those involved should be held accountable. This attack, and at least one other like it, indicate that some police officers in Ghana not only disregard journalist safety but are actively hostile and violent to the media, which is unacceptable,” it added.
The CPJ said Mr Sullemana, an investigative journalist and court reporter with the Ghanaian Times newspaper informed it of his altercation with police officers in the morning of March 14.
According to the committee, Mr Sullemana said he was beaten by the police officers before his arrest, following a traffic incident.
He was then taken to the station amidst threats by the police officers. It added added that the officers again tortured the Ghanaian reporter at the station after his arrival there.
Narrating the accounts of the incident by Mr Sullemana and two other journalists, Salifu Rahman and Raissa Ebu who were all involved in the traffic incident, the CPJ said the journalists were hit by a police officer who drove off, after the incident.
Following a decision of the reporters to confront the officer, an argument ensued which was taken on camera by Mr Sullemana. The development reportedly resulted in a violent attack on Mr Sullemana by other police officers who arrived the scene of the incident.
The CPJ noted a statement by the Ghanaian police on March 20, which indicated the suspension of the three affected officers.
According to the statement posted on the website of the Ghanaian Police Service, @GhPoliceService and signed by David Eklu, an assistant police commissioner, the country’s Inspector General of Police has ordered an investigation into the matter, “which should be completed in one week”.
The CPJ said it had further discussions with Mr Eklu on the matter and the police officer assured it of a “special investigation into the matter.”