The governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), has condemned an attack on a journalist with the Multimedia Group, Ohemaa Sakyiwaa, by a known activist of the party, Hajia Fati.
The reporter was slapped when she attempted taking a photo of Hajia Fati after she prevented Sammy Crabbe, a suspended Vice Chairman of the party from picking up forms to contest for the party’s chairmanship position at the party’s headquarters.
Hajia Fati had subsequently explained that she thought the reporter was a member of Sammy Crabbe’s camp who had been sent to take pictures for ulterior motives.
According to her, the reporter looked like an “onion seller” rather than a journalist.
The NPP in a statement signed by its General Secretary, John Boadu, distanced the party from the act, assuring Ghanaian journalists that, “it respects and cherishes the role of the media as partners in development and does not condone any action intended to suppress press freedom.”
“No journalist should feel intimidated and must continue to discharge his/her duties without fear, “ the statement added
The party said though it had already “begun an internal enquiry into the alleged incident” it will also “cooperate with other agencies investigating same.”
The NPP’s statement comes in the wake of concerns raised by the Media Foundation For West African, MFWA, and the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) over the party’s seeming silence on the development.
The statement from the NPP comes shortly after Citi FM’s Bernard Avle declared that the station would boycott all events of the NPP by the end of this week if the party fails to condemn the attack openly.
‘NPP headquarters becoming unsafe for journalists’ – Media Foundation
The Executive Director of Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), Sulemana Braimah, believes the headquarters of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) at Asylum Down in Accra, is gradually becoming an unsafe ground for journalists, given the number of attacks recorded there.
Mr. Braimah’s comment comes in the wake of an attack on a reporter with Multimedia, Ohemaa Sakyiwaa, who was assaulted by a known activist of the NPP, Hajia Fati.
NPP condoning acts of impunity
While describing the recent incident as unfortunate, Mr. Braimah also criticized the party’s leadership, saying their failure to crack the whip on culprits had led to a surge in these “acts of impunity.”
Aside from this incident, there have been a few of such attacks on reporters at the party’s headquarters.
A similar attack on journalists at NPP Headquarters
In December 2017, three journalists, including Citi FM’s Marie-Franz Fordjoe, and two others from TV3 and Ghanaweb, were assaulted by security guards at the NPP’s headquarters when they were covering a demonstration by some angry party members on December 21, 2017.
In that incident, a journalist from Ghanaweb was severely beaten by the party’s security guards at the headquarters.
The MFWA subsequently petitioned the National Chairman of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), Freddie Blay, to help bring to book party activists who attacked these journalists.
Speaking on Eyewitness News, Mr. Braimah said the NPP had neither acknowledged or responded to the petition forwarded to the party’s office.
“When that incident happened, we wrote condemning the incident and demanded that at least the party’s leadership should come out and condemn the incident so a strong signal will be sent to activists of the party that the leadership will not condone such acts against anybody and particularly against journalists. We did not hear anything from the party. We petitioned the leadership of the party, but our petition did not even get any acknowledgement.”
He said the party had similarly failed to punish culprits in this recent incident as no arrests had been made yet.
Below is the statement from the party
NPP condemns attack on journalist
The NPP has noted with concern an alleged attack on a journalist by one of its supporters, Hajia Fati.
We distance ourselves from the act and condemn it unreservedly.
The party wishes to assure Ghanaian journalists that, it respects and cherishes the role of the media as partners in development and does not condone any action intended to suppress press freedom.
No journalist should feel intimidated and must continue to discharge his/her duties without fear.
Though the New Patriotic Party has already begun an internal enquiry into the alleged incident, we will also cooperate with other agencies investigating same.
General Secretary (Ag)
By: Marian Ansah/citifmonline.com/Ghana