Kwabena Bobie Ansah, a journalist with Accra-based Accra FM, has written to the BBC over some claims by Elizabeth Akua Ohene, a former journalist and a Minister of State.
According to him, the current President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo made some baseless allegations about the then President, John Dramani Mahama and nothing happened to him.
“John Dramani Mahama, the former president of the Republic of Ghana, was a president under whom freedom of speech flourished. People could say anything and not get punished. The current president himself falsely accused President Mahama of spending $10 million on diaries, among other unfortunate attacks. This lie – among others – was exposed, and nothing happened to Akufo-Addo.
“Despite getting away with false accusations, today, journalists are picked up gestapo style, while radio stations have been shut down because they are affiliated with the opposition party. I myself was picked up illegally and unlawfully detained earlier this year, and I have my own story to tell.
“The biggest irony in this whole enterprise is that Akufo-Addo has said repeatedly that he prefers reckless journalism to empty bootlicking,” parts of Bobie Ansah’s letter read.
Elizabeth Ohene, who worked with the BBC for fourteen years, had questioned why the media house would measure Ghana’s press freedom state with activist Oliver Barker-Vormawor’s brushes with the law as the metric.
In her letter, she wrote that, the BBC did a shoddy job by not probing the various aspects of the story and just relying on the fact that he was arrested for his activism.
“We do not expect that the BBC would only defend journalists and programmes from other jurisdictions that meet its own standards.
“But when the BBC starts a programme that purports to be about Ghana’s free speech being under attack, with a man whose claim to fame seems to be how scurrilous he can be about his opponents, who makes no attempt to be factual and who uses the most obscene language to describe Ghana’s First Lady at every opportunity, I have to wonder about the BBC.
“Have the editors of the programme determined that this is a journalist, doing a professional job who is being muzzled and attacked?” she questioned.
Kwabena Bobie Ansah was arrested on February 10, at 10 pm, right after his political talk show ended by persons purported to be National Security operatives.
He was also accused of publishing false news on January 1, this year, accusing the presidential spouses of granting themselves “state lands at AU Village, around the Kotoka International Airport for the construction of Rebecca Foundation”.
According to the police, the said presenter further called the First Lady, Rebecca Akufo-Addo, “a thief and that she has stolen state land around the Kotoka International Airport,” a statement he knew was “likely to occasion the breach of the peace”.
However, he was granted a GH¢50,000 bail with two sureties on February 11.