Gambia: Media watchdog condemns Ghanaian chief for molesting journalist

Banjul, Gambia (PANA) - The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) on Saturday condemned unequivocally the molestation of a journalist by a traditional chief in Ghana.

In a statement obtained by PANA, the sub-regional media rights body disclosed that the traditional chief of Wassa Akropong in the Western Region of Ghana molested Larry Saint, a reporter for Rivers FM.

The chief, Tetre Akuamoah Sekyim II, was said to have summoned the journalist to his palace on 10 October, 2017 and questioned him over critical remarks the reporter made about him on a WhatsApp platform.

The chief subsequently forced the reporter to kneel in the scorching sun for about three hours before ordering the police to arrest him.

MFWA's Executive Director, Sulemana Braimah condemned the chief's action and also took the police to task for arresting the victim at the request of the chief.

"It is a regrettable development, and to know that the police acted the way they did is unfortunate," remarked Mr Braimah.

According to the statement, the incident started following the killing of a native of the gold-mining town by a Chinese national on 7 October and the journalist reportedly posted a comment on a WhatsApp platform for local journalists in which he accused the chief of showing no interest in the welfare of the youth.

The voice was circulated and the chief having heard it, summoned the journalist to his palace and subjected him to the degrading treatment of kneeling in the scorching sun.

As if he had not humiliated the journalist enough, the chief called the police to arrest the journalist.

MFWA said Western Regional Police PRO, Assistant Superintendent of Police Olivia Diku confirmed the arrest and added that they were investigating the matter.

"The journalist, and indeed any citizen for that matter, has a right under Ghana’s 1992 constitution and even under our traditional governance system, to express a critical opinion about public office holders including chiefs."

"Moreover, it is part of the traditional ethics of our elders and chiefs to turn a deaf ear to invective aimed at them but not directly expressed in their presence."

It said the chief's action was therefore not only at variance with this traditional code but also betrayed his inability to tolerate criticism, which was a vital leadership quality.
-0- PANA MLJ/MA 14Oct2017

14 october 2017 13:32:26

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