Press Freedom in Ghana Media Foundation condemns attack on Danish journalists

The trio, Sandra Haugaard, Jorgen Ebbe Christensen and Troels Kingo from Danish broadcaster Impact TV, were in the country to film a documentary about mining and its related concerns in Saaman, a small mining community in the Eastern Region.

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Media Foundation for West Africa

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The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) has condemned an attack on three Danish journalists who were working on a documentary in the country.

In a strongly worded statement, the organization decried the treatment meted out to the journalists; which included the seizure of filming equipment and police harassment.

The trio, Sandra Haugaard, Jorgen Ebbe Christensen and Troels Kingo from Danish broadcaster Impact TV, were in the country to film a documentary about mining and its related concerns in Saaman, a small mining community in the Eastern Region.


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“The team finished filming and were returning [when] they were accosted by military personnel who had been stationed to offer security at Kibi Goldfields Limited, a local mining firm in the Saaman area. The security forces together with officials of the mining firm forcefully seized the equipment questioning why they had conducted filming within their mining concession.”

The incident was subsequently reported to the police in Koforidua along with the seized equipment; which are yet to be returned.

The advocacy group also described as “obnoxious” a new directive by the Information Services Department (ISD) that requires international journalists to obtain permission before filming. The directive also entreated that after filming, journalists should submit copies of their finished work to the department for “Conformity Reality Check.According to the ISD, they are simply following a directive given to them by the National Security Council Secretariat.

They cited article 162 (2) of the constitution which is explicit in its opposition to censorship: “subject to this constitution and any other law not inconsistent with this constitution, there shall be no censorship in Ghana.

Article 162 (4) of the constitution which protects the media from state harassment and control also appears to have been broken in this case.  

“Editors and publishers of newspapers and other institutions of the mass media shall not be subject to control or interference by Government, nor shall they be penalized or harassed for their editorial opinions and views, or the content of their publications.”

While Ghana continues to be one of the highest ranked countries in the world in terms of press freedom, recent developments have raised concerns about a slip. In November 2015, MPs passed the Content Standards Regulations which among others banned “surreptitious filming.” The law is currently before the Supreme Court for interpretation.

Also in 2015, Stan Dogbe, who is unofficially the president’s right hand man, attacked a journalist from the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation and destroyed his recorder. A petition signed by over 150 journalists to get the president to sack Mr. Dogbe has been unsuccessful as he continues at post at the Flagstaff House.

Ordinary citizens also perpetuate abuse of journalists.  

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