Private Legal Practitioner Martin Kpebu has urged journalists in Ghana to stand up against abuse and intimidation by national security operatives.
His call follows the arrest of two journalists of Accra-based Citi FM for allegedly filming at the national security premises.
Caleb Kudah and his colleague Zoe Abu-Baidoo were arrested in a Rambo-style, forced to delete the video, interrogated, and released.
Mr Kudah has also recounted how he was beaten up by officers of the national security while they detained him.
“They were still beating me slapping me from the back, I will be talking to another one and someone will come and slap me from the back and you feel dizzy at once. At this point, they had handcuffed me and every now and again one will come and press it harder so that I feel the pain.
“Along the line, a man identified as Agyeman came in and I tried to talk to him, and immediately, he asked me to kneel down and he kicked me in the groin. I tried to plead with him that Sir they have beaten me enough,” he told Citi TV.
Speaking on Starr FM, Mr. Kpebu condemned the manner in which the arrests were made, saying that until the media stands up to the National Security the intimidation and abuse of citizens will continue.
“You journalists, what you need to do is to seek more education so that you’re empowered to stand up to the National Security. It looks like just because you don’t have much legal education, as soon as they mention national security you feel intimidate. It’s wrong.
“National security doesn’t mean they are not subject to the law. They are also subject to the law. It’s not as if they are entitled to do anything anyhow, No!” he said.
According to him, the Emile Short Commission report on the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election exposed the excesses of the national security secretariat, which should have been a wake up call to Ghanaians.
“You remember the Ayawaso West Wuogon Commission report that indicted them relative to the unlawful way they conducted themselves? They were operating a police station there against the law. You saw how the commission uncovered all the rot there. A very bad manner in which they were conducting themselves.
“So, Journalists you have to stand up otherwise if we just think at the mention of national security it means they are truly doing the interest of the state that will be a big mistake,” he admonished.
Mr. Kpebu disclosed that national security has always been used as a tool for abusing the rights of citizens.
According to him, the trend is global, saying that, all over the world, if journalists and citizens don’t wake up people will use national security to cause more crimes than even what ordinary citizens will do.
He stressed that after all the breaches exposed about the national security in the Ayawaso West Wuogon saga, years have passed and those breaches are still there, so they feel they are untouchable.
“How many years have passed after Ayawaso West Wuogon Commission report? A journalist should be interested in going there, seek permission to film and find out, are they still operating a police station there? Go in there, you’ll find that it’s there. They are still doing these things and we are quiet. Look we have to sit up,” he said.