The Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) has expressed its utmost disappointment in a press statement issued by the Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah on the invasion of UTV by alleged NPP members and sympathisers.
According to the Association, the statement was wobbling and paled in the face of an earlier statement issued by the Minister when Dagbon FM was attacked by an NDC member.
On Saturday, some men believed to be affiliated to the ruling New Patriotic Party stormed the premise of UTV and temporarily interrupted the United Showbiz show.
They threatened to attack the host and her panel, accusing them of disparaging the ruling administration unfairly.
Comparing both statements issued by the Minister, GJA noted the sharp contrast in tone and diction, suggesting that the Minister has not been even-handed in addressing the issues.
“In the second paragraph of the press statement, the Minister tries to justify the barbaric attack by holding that the hooligans entered UTV “allegedly without authorization” when he was the very person who reported to, and called in, the Police; in the fourth paragraph, the Minister avoids direct condemnation of the hooligans and conveniently makes his condemnation general, and, worst of all, in the last paragraph, the Minister imposes a burden on the media to promote national cohesion, regardless of the incessant attacks against them.
“The Minister’s press statement is in sharp contrast to another one issued by the PR Unit of his Ministry on May 4, 2023, in respect of the attack on a radio presenter on Dagbon FM in Tamale by a communicator of the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
“The Ministry’s May 2023 press statement was very direct: the Ministry described the attack as ASSAULT without any “allegedly” clothing; the Ministry condemned the act, specifically without giving it general direction; the Ministry called for “severe and speedy response from law enforcement agencies” to avoid future recurrence; the Minister had a telephone conversation with victim of assault, and the Minister “offered the support of the Ministry if he will require any”.
“Between the two cases – Dagbon FM and UTV, the Minister of Information and/or the Ministry of Information has or have not been even-handed in addressing the critical issues at stake, and we find that very worrying,” the GJA stated.
The GJA called on the media “to be bold and never be intimidated by such acts of hooliganism, knowing that we serve the larger interest of the public.
“We also wish to urge media practitioners and institutions to act professionally at all times in the discharge of their duties.”
Meanwhile, GJA has urged the NPP to appropriately sanction the party members who had played a part in the invasion.
“Inasmuch as we welcome the apology, we can only place value on its sanctity, and embrace it beyond rhetoric, if the party sanctions the perpetrators for doing something it did not sanction.
“Indeed, the GJA cannot uphold the sanctity of the apology when spokespersons of the NPP, some connected to the communications directorate, had earlier instigated such hooliganism against the television station without being reprimanded,” the GJA stated.
Earlier it had condemned and called for the arrest and prosecution of the NPP invaders.
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