Concerned Cameramen Association In Western Region Expose Catherine Afeku

The Concerned Cameramen Association (CCA) , made up of professional camera men working in the media in Western Region, would like to state our position on an abuse suffered by one of our members Alhaji Mustapha Gilbert Ashaley while on duty.

He was attacked last two weeks Friday by one Appiah, the bodyguard of Catherine Afeku, Member of Parliament for Evalue Ajomoro Gwira Constituency at the circuit court premises in Axim in the Nzema East Municipality in Western  Region while he was on duty to cover court proceedings.
As professionals,  we were duly briefed by our colleague after the incident on the ordeal he suffered in the hands of the body guard and police officers of the Axim District Command.

All his video footages shot at the court premises got deleted by the Police after he had an eye opening encounter with the body guard identified only as Appiah and the police when they attempted seizing the camera forcefully from him .

We the Concerned Cameramen Association (CCA) have been monitoring development ever since the incident happened,  and it appears our silence has given credence to the Member of Parliament Catherine Afeku, who is not the subject in this whole controversy but her bodyguard and the police, but she has decided to run around spinning with palpable and white lies in the media.

Perhaps, her desire is to throw dust in the eyes of Ghanaians,  but all those who have dealt with her can attest to her character,  it is not the CCA that would descend in the  gutters with her or engage her in this fruitless battle to cleanse her image instead of reprimanding the bodyguard to behave well as all law abiding citizens would do.

We have decided to set the record straight after her rant and spin doctoring on air, concocting her own story to tell  the world so she could appear clean in the public.
The facts are very clear and as follows.

1. We want to find out from the Minister of State,  didn't her bodyguard Appiah heckled the cameraman at the court premises.

2. Didn't the police in Axim in connivance with the bodyguard threatened the Cameraman.

3. Who instructed the police to delete all footages as contained in the camera.

4. Why is the Minister seriously running round looking for sympathy and support......Nobody taa nedo.

5. Is Catherine Afeku saying she doesn't know the Cameraman Alhaji Mustapha Gilbert Ashaley who worked on her 2016 elections documentary.

6. Catherine Afeku claimed the Cameraman is a retired cameraman of Metro Television,  that is pure lies.

He actually worked with GBC for 36 years and when he retired,  he joined Zambaga Rufai Saminu,  Western Regional Correspondent for Metro Television to do the work and this is not secret.

7. Why is Catherine Afeku not using any of the Western media houses but running to Accra.  Is she afraid she would be exposed ?
8. Who advised the bodyguard of Catherine Afeku to misconduct himself at the court premises buy disturbing the peace of a man  who was just doing his work. He did all that in the interest of who, and why?
9. Why is the MP defending  human right abuse,  is she into the business of abusing the rights of people.

10. Is it possible for Catherine Afeku to come back to same Cameramen who have helped her climb to the highest political office when her Cameraman  is destroying her relationship with the media friends who have been working with her.

She must answer all these poignant questions and allow the police to do their independent work for justice to prevail.
We would resist any attempt by Catherine  Afeku to use her office to suppress media freedom. Therefore, we would stand firmly together with our colleague until the right thing is done.

Again,  we are declaring a total boycott of all programs of Catherine  Afeku,  the Nzema East Municipal Assembly, until the MP Catherine  Afeku, and  the MCE for Nzema East Frank Okpenyen distance themselves from the bad conduct of the bodyguard who appears to have gained notoriety in pummeling people.

We would also like to throw our weight behind the Ghana Journalists Association (Western-GJA)  for  the call made for immediate arrest of the bodyguard of the Member of Parliament for Evalue-Jomoro Gwira Constituency and Minister State at the Presidency for assaulting the Cameraman and deleting his video footages from his camera.

Ladies and gentlemen,  genesis of the case we are pursuing.

The Cameraman, Alhaji Mustapha Gilbert Ashaley was among other journalists covering a court case involving Seth Afeku, the husband of the Evalue-Ajomoro-Gwira MP and one Angate Borzar who was arrested on the orders of Mr Afeku.

After the unfortunate incident, the camera  man duly informed the regional GJA on how he was abused at the court in Axim.
The Cameraman indicated that his camera was seized and videos deleted under the supervision of the police without his permission.

Preliminary investigations conducted by the regional GJA revealed that, before the commencement of the court proceedings, the Metro TV Cameraman, Alhaji Mustapha Gilbert Ashaley was taking video footages (cut aways) outside the court premises to support his story since recordings or picture/video inside the courtroom is not allowed.

This was after he had sought permission from the court clerk .
Without any provocation, the said bodyguard identified as (Appiah) who arrived in the company of the MP & Minister of State, Mrs Catherine Afeku and the husband, Seth Afeku, and the Municipal Chief Executive, Frank Okpenyen, upon seeing the  cameraman outside the court  premises videoing the entrance of the suspect in the case, the bodyguard rushed to him, interrupted him and ordered him to hand over Metro TV branded video camera to him.

The refusal of Alhaji Mustapha Gilbert Ashaley to handover his official camera to the bodyguard resulted in a fierce confrontation and heckling, which attracted the intervention of a policeman.

Another senior officer who was at the scene asked the cameraman to hand over the camera under duress to the junior police officer which he did.

However, surprisingly, the Member of Parliament for Evalue-Jomoro Gwira Constituency and Minister of State and MCE looked on unconcerned and gracefully walked to take their positions in the courtroom.

It was interesting to note that, after the camera was handed back to the Metro TV Cameraman after the court proceedings, all visuals on the camera had been deleted under the supervision of officers of the Ghana Police Service and thry offered no explanation as to why they tampered with the Metro TV Camera.

We, Concerned Cameramen Association, therefore view this  as a clear human rights abuse and would like to condemn this unwarranted attack of Alhaji Mustapha Gilbert  Ashaley while he was on duty, which is an affront to press freedom.

We want to remind the police and the Minister of state that we are in a democratic era, governed by rule of law, and therefore the era of tyrannical conduct belongs to the past.

We are shocked that after recent adaptation of a framework on Police Media Relations and safety of Journalists in the country, Axim Police supervised the bizarre seizure and deletion of the reporter’s professional work. That obviously could not be anything less than an attack on press freedom.

The reason why we are rallying support for our colleague to secure justice is because, journalists continue to face challenges such as physical attacks and threats in the discharge of their duties and if we don't stand together,  any of us could become victims of such political attacks.

We are reminding the Western Regional Police Command of our decades of good working relationship with them, and all security agencies. They should therefore not allow their men to be used by Catherine Afeku and the political class to undermine press freedom or curtail the freedom of public unduly.

We know that the cameraman, Alhaji Mustapha Gilbert Ashaley with many years of experience, followed due process in the court reporting protocols when it comes to court reporting even to the extent of seeking clearance.

We once again wish to call on the Regional Commander to investigate the said senior officer why he ordered the reporter to hand his camera over to the junior officer.
We also want to know who deleted the video footages from the Metro TV Camera and why?

Again, we want the identity of the said bodyguard established, arrested and made to face the full rigours  of the law for abuse of power.

This would ensure that such perpetrators of violations against journalists are punished.
Any attempt on the part of the Police to water down the case, and allow the bodyguard to go Scott free, would not only incur our displeasure,  but could attract an absolute boycott of all Police programs.
Justice for Alhaji Mustapha Gilbert Ashaley is certainly non negotiable.

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