Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah says Government is awaiting the internal investigations by the National Security on the arrest of two journalists with online news portal modernghana.com before officially commenting on the matter.
Government has come under heavy criticism with calls for the dismissal or resignation of the National Security Minister, Albert Kan-Dapaah because of its silence on the arrest and alleged torture of the journalists.
Although the National Security Council Secretariat has admitted the arrest of the journalists, it has however denied the torture claims.
But in what appears to be a clarification on the Citi Breakfast Show, Mr. Oppong Nkrumah insisted that the surest way of getting to the bottom of the matter is to allow the National Security to conclude its own investigations on the matter.
He assured that the government will step in if preliminary investigations are not satisfactory.
“…To the extent that we are having a number of discrepancies in the story that is being told, the primary agency to determine if these accounts are correct or some standard operating procedures or person’s rights were breached is the National Security Council Secretariat. Obviously, they may have to do their own internal enquiry to establish the truth or otherwise of the matter and make a determination of the next step. There isn’t much that has come out and I want to believe that it is an ongoing exercise and if they find anything untoward, then it can be escalated to the next level. ”
“For all these agencies, you start off from an internal enquiry. It is when the preliminary feedback that you are getting from that enquiry does not make sense and then you escalate to the next level…From what I have, their internal enquiry has not ended and that is why they have requested for the medical report validation. In the end, we all have a better understanding of what happened”, he added.
There are suggestions that the arrest of the two journalists was tied to the publication of an article that criticised the National Security Minister, Albert Kan Dapaah.
But the two were initially charged with conspiracy to steal, stealing and unauthorized access to electronic information after claims they hacked some other media houses.
Although they were put in court, the charges were subsequently withdrawn by the prosecution to allow for further investigations.
Attacks on journalists uncultured
While expressing utter disgust at the incessant attacks on media men and Ghana’s seeming loss of press freedom credentials, the Information Minister hinted that the government is already consulting stakeholders to find a viable way of salvaging the issue.
“It is a bit worrying that we are getting increasing incidents of journalists being attacked. It is not been known of our culture in this country. There should be an underlying [factor] but thankfully, we are engaging with other stakeholders to explore ways that can we can find common grounds of some of these matters and act on them.”