Reports say Ghana broadcaster, Radio Ada FM last month suffered an attack by masked men, over the coverage of a mining contract recently granted to the Electrochem company.
Radio Ada presenter, Korle Adjaotor Sorngortse told the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) that the attack took place in the morning on January 13, when ten masked men forced open the studio door of the privately-owned broadcaster’s office in the Ada district of the greater Accra region, and attacked and threatened its staff.
Sources also told the CPJ that the attackers, one of whom carried a pistol, hit and kicked him all over his body, for more than 10 minutes, shoved receptionist Ruby Ate and held her in her chair, and forced producer and anchor Gideon Amanor Dzeagu to kneel, while they ransacked the office.
After about 15 minutes, the men left the scene and threatened to return and shoot people if Radio Ada FM continued to report on the mining deal.
CPJ Africa’s Program Coordinator, Angela Quintal called on the authorities in Ghana to swiftly identify those who planned and carried on the attack on the radio station and hold them accountable.
“These physical attacks on members of the press and attempts at intimidation are far too common in Ghana and should not be tolerated,” Quintal said
The attackers monitored the broadcaster from a nearby bar, for over three hours, before entering the office, according to those reports.
Radio Ada FM’s officer-in-charge of external communications, Odoi Julius, and a producer told CPJ by phone that the outlet’s reporting showed that the Electrochem contract would require some people to be relocated, and that a protest had been planned against the deal.
That protest was scheduled for the same day the broadcaster was attacked, they said. Two protest organizers were at the station during the raid, and one of the attackers hit one of the organizers, Sorngortse and Dzeagu told CPJ. They added that the protest was later cancelled after organizers were unable to acquire police protection.
The attackers repeatedly asked to see Noah Dameh, who led the “Manor Munyu” news program that covered the Electrochem case but left the studio after being told he was not there.
At least two computers used for recording, a sound mixer, and three sets of headphones, were destroyed by the attackers, according to the station.
Sorngortse told CPJ that he continues to experience severe pain in his head and neck from the beating, and his left eye remains swollen.
When CPJ called Ada district Police Commander Kojo Mifetu for comment, he said authorities had not yet identified the attackers.
CPJ says it called and texted Electrochem, and its parent company the McDan Group, for comment, but did not receive any replies.
The committee has for years documented Ghanaian journalists’ concerns that those responsible for violence against reporters are not identified or held accountable.