GJA President apologize for ‘hasty’ comment on Caleb Kudah alleged assault

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Outgoing President of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), Dr. Roland Affail Monney has apologized for saying Citi FM journalist Caleb Kudah breached GJA Code of Ethics by filming at the National Security Ministry without permission. 

The GJA president came under huge public criticism for that comment, with some even asking for his immediate resignation.

His own colleague GJA Secretary, Kofi Yeboah openly challenged his comment and asked him to show proof of how a journalists breached a GJA Code by filming vehicles bought with taxpayer money at National Security premises in the public interest.

Caleb Kudah was arrested and allegedly assaulted by some National Security operatives for filming some MASLOC vehicles packed on the premises of National Security Ministry rotting away.

He had earlier done a story about those vehicles and MASLOC reacted by saying the vehicles have since been disbursed, but Caleb found them re-parked at the National Security Minister so he started to film them for a follow up story.

When he was found, he allegedly quickly forwarded the videos to his colleague Zoe Abu-Baidoo via WhatsApp, which made seven heavily armed National Security operatives follow up to Citi FM to get Zoe.

They were both arrested and made to delete the videos. But in the course of interrogation, Caleb said he was slapped several times from behind and was even kicked in groin by one Lt. Col. Agyemang, who is supposed to be Director of Operations at the office.

When the GJA President was called by Joy FM to speak on the matter, he condemned the assault on the journalist and the invasion of the premises of Citi FM, but said Caleb Kudah broke the GJA Code of ethics buy openly filming at a security installation.

But in a statement dated May 14, 2021, Dr. Affail Monney said he erred in his initial comments because he had very scanty information when Joy FM called him to speak on the matter.

But now, with the benefit of more detailed information and proper analysis by legal practitioners and ethicists, he would admit that he erred and he apologizes for his error.

He then outrightly condemned the manhandling of the journalists and the needless storming of the premises of Citi FM by national security personnel and pledged his full solidarity with Caleb, his other colleague, Zoe Abu-Baidoo and with Citi FM.

Below his the full statement from the GJA President.

STATEMENT BY AFFAIL MONNEY AT A PRESS CONFERENCE ON MOLESTATION OF CITI FM REPORTERS AT GHANA INTERNATIONAL PRESS CENTRE ON 14TH MAY 2021

Good morning colleague journalists, distinguished ladies and gentlemen.
Please accept my deepest gratitude for responding to the invitation to attend this morning’s press conference which will last not more than five minutes.

I am holding it in my personal capacity as a Senior Journalist and a resident of No 4 Puma Street, Adentan, Accra. This press conference is principally to set the records straight and share a few comments on the raging storm over the molestation of two Citi FM reporters, Caleb Kuda and Zoe Abu Baidoo Addo.

On Wednesday, 12th May, 2021, around 5:40 pm I granted an interview at Kumasi Airport to Joy FM. Admittedly, the information I had  was sketchy. So  I reluctantly went ahead to speak to the issue. I began by instinctively and profoundly expressing my tenderest solicitude to and fullest solidarity with the two  journalists . Indeed, I faulted Caleb whom I thought was  “ openly “ filming a video at the Ministry of National Security before his arrest. I , however , added pointedly that the alleged ethical breach did not , and , does not justify the inordinate use of force and intimidatory tactics against the poor journalists. I roundly condemned the “ massive” invasion of Citi FM premises by security operatives to scale up the degree of intimidation against the entire staff and management. I again said that the response by these security operatives was  totally out of proportion to the so called offense by Caleb. It clearly violated the law of proportionality.

Unsurprisingly, my condemnation of the office invasion and physical brutalization was muted while my comment on Caleb’s ethical style was tilted and overly highlighted , obviously to achieve certain sensational ends.

As a student of leadership, I have learned that a leader is not afraid to change course when confronted with fresh information which challenges his earlier assumptions. As I indicated, the information I had before the interview was scanty. What is available now is sufficient,  as legal luminaries , distinguished ethicists and social critics slice  and dice the issue from all angles. It is healthy for a free society such as ours for viewpoint diversity  to be manifestly venerated, not maliciously castigated.  I also take note of the righteous indignation and emotional overdrive over the issue.  I, therefore, render my sincerest  apology for any misimpression created that I was insensitive to the plight of the journalists  but excited about the excesses by the National Security operatives. Indeed, those excesses pass for wickedness at its most naked nastiness. And I totally denounce them.

Under my presidency, attacks or threats  against journalists ,irrespective of the perpetrators or victims , have received  outright condemnation. So there is no way the latest ones against the Citi FM journalists will be swept under the carpet. Not at all. Indeed, the ordeal as narrated by the journalists is heart rending, soul wrenching, mind boggling, and earth- shattering. The intrinsic value and inherent dignity of the two as human beings were blatantly violated. Their freedom as journalists, too, was scandalously abused. The misbehaviour of the national security operatives can exert a significant chilling effect on the media landscape as a whole.  This must stop. In view of this, I urge the Committee of Enquiry set up by the Ministry of National Security to quickly move into action to impartiality  unravel all the circumstances surrounding the issue. The findings and recommendations should also be implemented with urgent promptitude to give meaning to our motto as a land of freedom and justice.

The Lord is our refuge and strength.

I thank you for your kind attention.

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