Vice Admiral Mathew Quarshie chatting with Dr Doris Dartey while Affail Monney and others look on

Vice Admiral Mathew Quarshie chatting with Dr Doris Dartey while Affail Monney and others look on

The Military High Command yesterday nullified the report on the assault of two photojournalists which occurred during the March 6 Independence anniversary at the Independence Square.

The report was set aside because it did not contain the input of the victims of the assault, and, therefore, incomplete, this is according to Chief of the Defence Staff, Vice Admiral Mathew Quarshie.

When the report was published in a section of the media, it aggravated the anger among media practitioners, especially since it exonerated the military from blame and rather queried the photojournalists for crossing the red line at the Independence Square.

The acceptance of the remorse was evident in the order issued by the President of the Ghana Journalists? Association (GJA), Affail Monney, to the media to consider the war with the military as over.

Rendering the apology and stretching a hand of friendship to the leadership of the GJA, Private Newspaper Proprietors Association (PRINPAG) and a representation from the Editors? Forum, Ghana, Vice Admiral Mathew Quarshie announced that the military would come up with a package of compensation for the victims of the assault.

The sword and pen, he said, when they worked together would yield significant dividends for the country and so the military and the media should maintain a cordial relationship towards the achievement of this end.

The two must complement each other for good results, he emphasised.

He hoped that what happened would not happen again and stated that the military had their own way of dealing with matters which breach their ethics, assuring that those responsible for what happened at the Independence Square had been dealt with appropriately.

?We apologise for whatever happened. We would find a way of compensating the victims. I am nullifying the report about the assault and so the contents should be ignored,? he said.

Both parties should have been invited to narrate the sequence of events before such a report, he explained, adding that what hit the public domain was actually not meant for the purpose.

?We are all agents of development. We have also asked our men to conduct themselves well when dealing with the public, who as our brothers should be protected. Sometimes overzealousness takes the greater part of us as we discharge our duties and this can lead to nasty developments,? the CDS said, as he stretched his hands.

Vice Admiral Quarshie regretted that the military and the media were meeting over a contentious matter far away from what he had always cherished.

Admiral Quarshie said that the military were vulnerable when it came to issues of this nature given their antecedents of many years ago which has led to their stereotyping.

The victims of the assault, Vincent Dzatse and Nee Martey Botwe of the Ghanaian Times and Daily Graphic respectively were called into the conference room at the Burma Hall for a personal apology from the CDS, which they accepted openly.

Earlier, the President of the GJA, Affail Monney, had told the military high command that he and his team were coming with a forgiving heart in spite of what happened.

There were contributions from the various senior media personalities present at the media/military meeting towards enhancing the relationship between the two institutions.

In his explanation, Col Mbawine Atintande, Director, Public Relations Directorate, Ghana Armed Forces, said that the nullified report was the result of an investigation which the GJA had called for.

It was not meant for public consumption but unfortunately it found its way in the public domain.

Supporting the CDS during the interaction were the Chief Of Staff of the military and Brigadiers in charge of Defence Intelligence, Inspector General and Joint Operations.

The CDS, Brigadiers and their guests in a group photograph at the end of the interaction.

By A.R. Gomda

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