Home »  TV Station Attackers Convicted in Ghana, Media Welcomes Verdict

 TV Station Attackers Convicted in Ghana, Media Welcomes Verdict

by Victor Adetimilehin

A court in Ghana has fined 16 members of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) for storming the studios of a television station and disrupting a live program earlier this month. The attackers, who were supporters of the NPP’s parliamentary candidate for the Ablekuma North constituency, invaded the premises of United Television (UTV) on October 7 and interrupted a political talk show featuring their rival from the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC).

The incident sparked public outrage and condemnation from various media groups and civil society organizations, who called for swift action against the perpetrators. The Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, who is also a member of the NPP, reported the matter to the police and urged them to bring the culprits to justice.

On October 16, a magistrate court in Achimota, a suburb of Accra, found the 16 attackers guilty of unlawful entry and causing unlawful damage and sentenced them to pay a fine of 2,400 Ghanaian cedis ($413) each or serve six months in prison. The National Media Commission (NMC), the statutory body that regulates media practice in Ghana, welcomed the verdict and commended the minister and the police for their roles in ensuring accountability.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, the NMC said the conclusion of the case signified “a major step towards reversing impunity against journalists in the country.” The statement also praised the minister and the attorney general for choosing to uphold media freedom and setting “a new standard by which government action must be judged into the future.”

“We must hold the ministers bound by this worthy precedent and define it as the standard by which we expect all future ministers to act,” the statement said. The NMC also acknowledged the professionalism of the commander of the Tesano police station and his team for arresting, investigating and prosecuting the offenders.

The statement added that the public reaction to the incident showed “the values Ghanaians cherish in our democratic space and the level of decency required of us all.” The NMC called on all stakeholders to support the Coordinated Mechanism on the Safety of Journalists, a platform that aims to create a safer environment for media practitioners in Ghana.

The NMC expressed hope that the successful resolution of this case would serve as a deterrent to others who may attempt to intimidate or attack journalists in the future. “Social progress is sometimes slow, but the positive direction it takes can give hope of the incremental gain society stands to benefit if efforts continue in that same positive direction,” the statement said.

Source: Ghana Web  

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