A statement jointly signed by the Acting General Secretary and the Chairman of the Private Journalists Association (PJA) Francis Npong and Edmond Gyebi respectively, indicated that the decision to boycott activities of the two offices was to draw stakeholders’ attention to bizarre tactics employed by the police to suppress journalists in the area.
Mr. Murtala Issah was arrested, brutalized and detained briefly by the police during the December District Assembly elections when he tried to video-tape a scuffle that ensued between some voters and an election task force at Sankpala Polling Station in the Tamale Central Constituency.
Members of the taskforce upon realizing that the journalist was attempting to capture their abysmal behaviour towards civilian voters pounced on him and destroyed his digital camera beyond repairs. They also brutalized and tore his shirt and finally detained him at the charged office for several hours.
The police however apologized and promised to replace the camera for him after the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) and PJA protested against the act.
The police later however called the reporter and indicated to him that the Attorney General’s Department (AG) has advised the Northern Regional Police Command to charge the reporter for offensive conduct contrary to Section 209 of the Criminal Code under the 1992 Constitution after six long months the incident occurred.
"We members of PJA and GJA wish to condemn the action of the police and the AG’s Department for attempting to put fears into Journalists and prevent them from carrying out their legitimate duties", the statement said.
"The statement added, “in consultation with PJA and GJA members, all journalist practitioners based in the region are urged to boycott all activities of the regional police command and RCC until further notice."
The statement said members of PJA and GJA would not be deterred by the act of the police and would continue to exercise their constitutional duties to keep the society safe.