Nearly five years after Multimedia journalist, Latif Iddrisu, was allegedly assaulted by policemen, leaving him with a severely fractured skull, hearing on the case is yet to officially begin.
The award-winning journalist on March 27, 2018, suffered police brutality in the course of covering a protest by some National Democratic Congress (NDC) members, following the arrest of it’s then Deputy General Secretary, Samuel Koku Anyidoho.
Speaking in an interview with the Ghanaian Times, last Friday, Mr Iddrisu, lamented the slow pace at which the case was running although he expressed hope that justice would be served.
“Next year March will be five years, yet, proper hearing of the case is yet to begin. They say in these parts of the world, the wheels of justice grinds slowly, but I say it grinds at a tortoise pace. If you do not come face to face with the system, you would think the system works for you but it doesn’t,” he said.
The broadcast journalist, who is now stuck with a stimulator that activates his brain to function or suffer a relapse, expressed disappointment over claims by the police administration that it could not retrieve footages on events of the day, and recounted the grave impact the incident has since had on him.
“It has affected my career and my productivity at work is now low. Any pressure on my head and brain takes me into a relapse so I report to work two to three days and I have to take a rest. Since 2018, I have been moving in and out of the country for treatment and now I have to use a stimulator on my head to stimulate my brain to function,” he said.
The 2019 Best Mining Reporter, seeking prosecution of his attackers and compensatory damages at the court, called for an end to impunity of violence against journalists, saying; “an attack on a journalist is an attack on the Constitution.
“Because people keep getting away with the crimes and attacks, we have become the easy targets; someone gets frustrated at a place and it’s the journalist they unleash it on.
“Until the laws of this country begin to bite, we will still have incidents of attacks on journalists and that is a disincentive to growing our democracy,” he explained.
The story of Latif Iddrisuis one of many cases of crimes of violent against journalists gone unpunished in the country, giving rise to the culture of impunity.
Between January and June, this year, Reporters without Borders (RSF), a non-profit organisation, has recorded 14 cases of abuse of Ghanaian journalists, including five arrests.
According to the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), a civil society group, over the last two decades, more than150 incidents of violation against journalists, have been identified in the country, majority being physical attacks mostly perpetrated by security agencies.
These happenings have put a taint on Ghana’s reputation as a beacon of press freedom on the African continent dropping it 30 places; from 30th to 60th in the 2022 World Press Freedom Index.
BY ABIGAIL ANNOH