The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) has deplored the punishment meted out to a journalist with Rivers FM in the Wassa Akropong district of the Western Region over comments he made about the chief of the area.
MFWA Executive Director, Sulemana Braimah, told Israel Laryea on Joy FM’s Midday News Friday that it is unfortunate for a journalist to be punished for sharing his opinion on any matter.
The journalist Larry Saint was asked by the Omanehene of the area, Tetrete Okuamoah Sekyim, to kneel in the sun for over three hours after he criticised some actions of the chief.
He reportedly told some youth the Omanhene had done little to protect residents against foreigners after a Chinese allegedly shot and killed a young man in the area.
Larry Saint told Joy News’ Manasseh Azure Awuni he was summoned to the palace on Tuesday, which he attended with his boss.
He recounted that after the Omanehene played an audio recording of his conversation with the youth, he was asked to kneel down.
The Omanhene later phoned the District Police Commander to send some of his men to come and arrest the journalist.
There are calls for him to leave the area because of the death threats hanging about his neck, but Larry Saint told Joy News he cannot leave the town for fear of violating the instruction of the police.
Western Regional Police PRO, ASP Olivia Diku has confirmed the arrest to Joy News, adding they are investigating the matter.
But the Media Foundation said the punishment given the journalist is tantamount to the cases of instant justice recorded in the country.
“It is an extremely unfortunate development and to know that the police also acted in the way they did is not what we expect of our law enforcement agencies,” Mr Braimah said.
He said it is the role of the journalist to hold people who are in positions of trust accountable, adding what the chief did is "unfortunate."
Although he said the Wassa Akropong’s incident is an isolated case, Mr Braimah said the Foundation will be following the story as it unfolds.