The Director-General of Public Affairs at the Ghana Police Service, DCOP Kwesi Ofori, has debunked claims that the police is targeting journalists for arrest in an wave of actions to intimidate them.
According to him, the police’s actions are purely based on its compliance with the law.
Speaking on The Point of View on Citi TV on Monday, DCOP Kwesi Ofori said the police have remained fair, firm and professional in its handling of cases of arrests not limited to journalists.
“All that we are saying is that the journalists must be responsible and make sure that things put out are information that is true and accurate. When things are done haphazardly, it creates a problem for everyone,” he said.
Within three weeks, four journalists and activists have been arrested by the police often for allegations they made on radio or on social media which according to the police are investigated by them and found to be false.
The arrested persons include; Accra FM’s Bobie Ansah, Power FM’s Oheneba Boamah Bennie, and the Executive Director of the Alliance For Social Equity and Public Accountability (ASEPA), Mensah Thompson who were all slapped with the charge of publication of false news and offensive conduct.
The development has reignited conversations on whether Ghana has returned to the dark days of criminal libel where many journalists were incarcerated over publications they made.
But according to DCOP Ofori the police operates fairly and is not targeting journalists for arrest as being claimed.
“I think the police are being fair to all manner of persons in this country. When a case is lodged and it can be referred to in our criminal code, the law is there and they have not been repealed, it is not about people in authority, anybody can report that case,” he said.
The police officer said to the extent that Section 207 and Section 208 of the Criminal offenses code are active and not repealed, the police has a duty to enforce it and hold those who fall foul.
He said the police believes that the court is the final and a credible arbiter and so persons who are aggrieved or believe the police does not have the power to effect arrest in some of the circumstances can sue it.