Reporters Without Borders Annual Report 2002 - Ghana
|Publisher||Reporters Without Borders|
|Publication Date||3 May 2002|
|Cite as||Reporters Without Borders, Reporters Without Borders Annual Report 2002 - Ghana, 3 May 2002, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/487c5228b.html [accessed 10 July 2014]|
A Liberian journalist in who has been living in Ghana for several years was nearly expelled because of his highly critical radio programme. On the other hand, the president has met his commitment to revise the penal code.
During the year several state officials and many journalists denounced the lack of professionalism of certain editorial staff. Journalists were implicated in affairs of corruption and attempted extortion of money, and at least one of them was dismissed.
On 27 July 2001 parliament repealed several laws on libel and sedition. These laws had been used on several occasions to arrest and jail journalists. When he was sworn in on 7 January the new president John Kufuor had promised to amend these laws in order to "push back the frontiers of freedom" in Ghana.
One journalist arrested
Darryl Ambrose Nmah, a Liberian journalist with the privately-owned station Radio Gold, was arrested on 31 May 2001 in Accra by Ghana immigration office officials. He was released the same evening owing to the intervention of the station manager who had to pay a fine of 1,430 dollars (some 1,700 euros) for having employed a foreigner without a work permit. The journalist was ordered to leave the country before 5 June. Darryl Ambrose Nmah, who had fled war in his country, hosted a highly controversial current affairs programme, "The Morning Show", on Radio Gold. According to local journalists this programme may have been the reason for his expulsion order. Local statistics show that 90% of all Liberian refugees in Ghana still do not have residence and work permits even though some of them have been in the country since 1990. A few days later the immigration office reached an agreement with the radio station's lawyers and the journalist was allowed to stay in the country.
One journalist assaulted
Journalist and member of parliament Kwabena Agyepong was assaulted by eight armed men late in the night on 5 July 2001. After taking a large sum of money from him the assailants beat him up. The motive for this attack has still not been clearly identified.
One journalist threatened
On 17 July 2001 an agriculture ministry official, Ferdinand Agbemadeo, threatened to hit Jojo Bruce Quansah, publisher of the Ghana Palaver. The official accused the journalist of criticising the ruling NPP (New Patriotic Party) too much.
Pressure and obstruction
The entire editorial staff of Joy FM was threatened with arrest on 26 June 2001. The station manager said he received a fax from the government security adviser asking journalists of the radio station to report to the police station or face arrest. This threat was the consequence of an article published in the Nigerian newspaper The Guardian revealing that President John Kufuor had hired the services of Nigerian security agents. Joy FM had broadcast the news in Ghana along with the statement of a former Ghanaian army officer that this measure, as well as the omnipresent fear of a coup d'état, could "endanger peaceful democracy in the country".
On 28 September police closed the premises of the privately-owned radio station Vibe FM. An officer explained that the station had not repaid its loans from an insurance company. Microphones and a transmitter were confiscated. A few weeks later Vibe FM resumed its broadcasts following intervention by the government.