A US-based Ghanaian lawyer and scholar, Professor Stephen Kwaku Asare (Kwaku Azar) has condemned the arrest of Journalists in recent times by the police on claims that the Journalists have turned down invitation to assist with investigation.
According to him, police have no right to arrest people for turning down their invitation.
He said the police can only effect an arrest only when they possess an arrest warrant from the court.
His comment comes on the back of the recent arrest of Accra FM presenter, Kwabena Bobie Ansah, who the Police say refused their invitations to aid in investigations over an allegation he made accusing the First and Second Ladies of corruption.
In a post on his social media handle, Kwaku Azar decried the increasing spate of arrests of media personalities.
He noted that some prominent Ghanaians personalities such as Kweku Baako Jnr have in the past 6 decades fought for press freedom adding that the state’s attempt to stifle media freedom had reached a point where it was ‘enough!”.
“For over six decades, Ghanafuo have fought for the state and law enforcement to leave their media alone. From Eric Adjorlolo through John Dumoga, Moses Danquah, Henry Thompson, Apostle Barnabas, Chris Asher, Tommy Thompson, Eben Quarcoo, Haruna Atta, Abdul Malik, etc. the state, using its enormous police powers, with tacit acquiescence from a reactionary judiciary, has done enough harm in stifling the growth of our media. Enough is enough! Leave our media men alone,” Kwaku Azar posted on his Facebook timeline.
Professor Asare also suggested to the First and Second Ladies of the Republic, whom Kwabena Bobie Ansah made allegations against, to pursue the matter in civil courts on grounds of defamation.
“The civil courts are there for those who feel defamed. Above all, state actors, who provide reliable information to the people, need not worry about false publications. Just as most of us tune out state propaganda, we are equally able to tune out false reportage, especially when we have alternative and timely facts,” he added.
Kwabena Bobie Ansah was arrested on Thursday February 10 in what police charge sheet say were unsubstantiated allegations against the First Lady, Mrs. Rebecca Akufo-Addo, and wife of the Vice President, Samira Bawumia. Bobie accused the duo of “fraudulently granting themselves state lands at AU Village, around the Kotoka International Airport for the construction of [the] Rebecca Foundation, a non-governmental project”.
The broadcaster, per the police charge sheet, made the allegations on January 1, 2022. However, investigations into matter revealed that it was false.
Police say the broadcaster failed to honour invitations to assist in investigations.
Meanwhile, the Kaneshie District Court has granted the presenter a GH¢50,000 bail with two sureties.
He has been charged with the publication of false news and offensive conduct.