GJA President backtracks; apologizes for his comment over assault on Caleb Kudah

The President of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), Affail Monney, has apologized for what he calls a “misimpression” of his comments on the assault on Citi FMand Citi TV journalist, Caleb Kudah.

“I render my sincerest apology for any misimpression created that I was insensitive to the plight of the journalists but excited about the excesses by the National Security operatives. Indeed, those excesses pass for wickedness at its most naked nastiness. And I totally denounce them,” Affail Monney said in a statement.

Affail Monney has come under public backlash for stating that Caleb Kudah breached the Association’s code of ethics when he filmed some grounded MASLOC vehicles at the National Security premises, which may have warranted the subsequent assault on him.

In a statement to clarify his earlier comments, Mr. Monney said he had sketchy details on the incident at the time he was interviewed on it.

“Admittedly, the information I had was sketchy. So I reluctantly went ahead to speak to the issue.”

He also wondered why the focus had been on his condemnation of Caleb’s actions when he had equally taken on National Security operatives for attacking Caleb and subsequently invading the premises of Citi FM.

“Indeed, I faulted Caleb whom I thought was openly filming a video at the Ministry of National Security before his arrest. I, however, added pointedly that the alleged ethical breach did not, and, does not justify the inordinate use of force and intimidatory tactics against the poor journalists.

“ I roundly condemned the massive invasion of Citi FM premises by security operatives to scale up the degree of intimidation against the entire staff and management. I again said that the response by these security operatives was totally out of proportion to the so-called offence by Caleb. It clearly violated the law of proportionality.”

The GJA General Secretary, Kofi Yeboah, disagreed with the GJA President by saying Caleb Kudah did not breach any code as long as he acted in the interest of the public.

Below is the statement from Affail Monney

STATEMENT BY AFFAIL MONNEY AT A PRESS CONFERENCE ON MOLESTATION OF CITI FM REPORTERS AT GHANA INTERNATIONAL PRESS CENTRE ON 14TH MAY 2021

Good morning colleague journalists, distinguished ladies and gentlemen.
Please accept my deepest gratitude for responding to the invitation to attend this morning’s press conference which will last not more than five minutes.

I am holding it in my personal capacity as a Senior Journalist and a resident of No 4 Puma Street, Adentan, Accra. This press conference is principally to set the records straight and share a few comments on the raging storm over the molestation of two Citi FM reporters, Caleb Kuda and Zoe Abu Baidoo Addo.

On Wednesday, 12th May, 2021, around 5:40 pm I granted an interview at Kumasi Airport to Joy FM. Admittedly, the information I had  was sketchy. So  I reluctantly went ahead to speak to the issue. I began by instinctively and profoundly expressing my tenderest solicitude to and fullest solidarity with the two  journalists . Indeed, I faulted Caleb whom I thought was  “ openly “ filming a video at the Ministry of National Security before his arrest. I , however , added pointedly that the alleged ethical breach did not , and , does not justify the inordinate use of force and intimidatory tactics against the poor journalists. I roundly condemned the “ massive” invasion of Citi FM premises by security operatives to scale up the degree of intimidation against the entire staff and management. I again said that the response by these security operatives was  totally out of proportion to the so called offense by Caleb. It clearly violated the law of proportionality.

Unsurprisingly, my condemnation of the office invasion and physical brutalization was muted while my comment on Caleb’s ethical style was tilted and overly highlighted, obviously to achieve certain sensational ends.

As a student of leadership, I have learned that a leader is not afraid to change course when confronted with fresh information which challenges his earlier assumptions. As I indicated, the information I had before the interview was scanty. What is available now is sufficient,  as legal luminaries , distinguished ethicists and social critics slice  and dice the issue from all angles. It is healthy for a free society such as ours for viewpoint diversity  to be manifestly venerated, not maliciously castigated.  I also take note of the righteous indignation and emotional overdrive over the issue.  I, therefore, render my sincerest  apology for any misimpression created that I was insensitive to the plight of the journalists  but excited about the excesses by the National Security operatives. Indeed, those excesses pass for wickedness at its most naked nastiness. And I totally denounce them.

Under my presidency, attacks or threats  against journalists ,irrespective of the perpetrators or victims , have received  outright condemnation. So there is no way the latest ones against the Citi FM journalists will be swept under the carpet. Not at all. Indeed, the ordeal as narrated by the journalists is heart rending, soul wrenching, mind boggling, and earth- shattering. The intrinsic value and inherent dignity of the two as human beings were blatantly violated. Their freedom as journalists, too, was scandalously abused. The misbehaviour of the national security operatives can exert a significant chilling effect on the media landscape as a whole.  This must stop. In view of this, I urge the Committee of Enquiry set up by the Ministry of National Security to quickly move into action to impartiality  unravel all the circumstances surrounding the issue. The findings and recommendations should also be implemented with urgent promptitude to give meaning to our motto as a land of freedom and justice.

The Lord is our refuge and strength.

I thank you for your kind attention.

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