Rear Admiral Mathew Quashie Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) of the Ghana Armed Forces Wednesday rendered an unqualified apology to the two photo journalists who were assaulted in the full glare of the public during the Independence Day parade on March 6.
“On behalf of the Armed Force and the Military, I apologise for the embarrassment, harm and any inconveniences the action might have caused you. We will replace the damaged cameras and compensate you as well”.
The CDS rendered the apology when the executives of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) and some media representatives called on them to find a solution to the issue which has received a serious backlash from the general public and the media.
“As humans we make mistakes and I believe our men in the discharge of their duty went overboard just to ensure the security of the president and the public”, he added.
The two journalists, Vincent Dzatse, a Ghanaian Times photographer attached to the presidency, and Nii Martey Botwe, a photographer with the Daily Graphic were assaulted by military police personnel in the full glare of people during the Independence parade in Accra.
They were accredited to cover the country’s 56th Independence Anniversary Parade but were manhandled by some security personnel.
The Ghanaian Times photographer, who is also the presidential photographer, received several slaps from a military policeman, whilst his colleague from the Graphic was also said to have been dragged and pushed around by the other security men.
The GJA after watching the photographs and video footages of the assault asked the Military to investigate the incident, but the report of the Ghana Armed Forces’ investigations into the matter said the soldiers who manhandled photojournalists from the Ghanaian Times and Daily Graphic did no wrong.
The two journalists when approached with the apology in addition to the compensations accepted it in good faith.
“We are humans and if your fellow offends you and upon realizing it asks you for forgiveness, you have to forgive and we therefore accept your apology”, Mr Dzatse said.
Mr Affail Monney, President of GJA condemned the action of the military personnel but commended the CDS for acknowledging their offence and called for effective communication between the two during national activities.
He called on journalists, who decided to boycott any military activity because of the assault to rescind their decision and accept the reconciliation.
Both sides agreed that there was the need to respect and acknowledge the role of each other and know “where to draw the line.”