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Ghana's ruling political party urged to redress attack on journalists by its security guards

A policeman stands guard at the main gate to the residence of then presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party Nana Akufo-Addo, in Accra, 9 December 2016
A policeman stands guard at the main gate to the residence of then presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party Nana Akufo-Addo, in Accra, 9 December 2016

PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP/Getty Images

This statement was originally published on mfwa.org on 24 January 2018.

The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) has petitioned the National Chairman of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), Freddie Blay, over the brutal assault by the party's security officers on journalists which occurred at the party's National Headquarters in Accra, Ghana.

On December 21, 2017, four journalists who were covering a protest at the premises of the NPP headquarters were brutalized by heavily-built security officials.

Despite several appeals by the media and press freedoms organisations to the leadership of the NPP, the party has failed to take any action 33 days after the incident. Meanwhile, the party through its General Secretary, John Boadu, condemned a recent attack on a member of the party, Kwame Baffoe, popularly known as Abronye DC, whereas no single word has been said about the attack on the journalists which happened much earlier.

The petition therefore called on the NPP National Chairman to ensure that the party formally condemns the incident, apologises to the victims and punishes the perpetrators.

The petition, which was delivered at the party headquarters on January 23, 2018, was also copied to the Inspector General of Police, David Asante-Apeatu, with a call on him to ensure that the assailants are arrested to face the law, in line with President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo's directive to the Police during the recent Presidential Media Encounter to deal firmly with the menace of vigilantism in the country.

Kindly read the petition below.


The National Chairman
New Patriotic Party
National Headquarters
Accra

Dear Sir,

Petition against Physical Assault on Journalists by Party Security Officers

On December 21, 2017, four journalists were physically attacked by some security officers manning your party's Headquarters in Accra.

The four journalists from TV3, Citi FM and Ghanaweb.com were brutalised by the security guards for covering a protest at the premises of your party headquarters by some supporters of your party from the Ellembelle Constituency of the Western Region.

While filming the scene, TV3 cameraman, Godfred Tanam was slapped by the rampaging guards. Prince Afum, a TV3 reporter, was also attacked when he went to the aid of his colleague, Tanam. Ghanaweb.com reporter, Ebenezer Ackah was kicked on the ground after being slapped and violently pushed down. A reporter from Citi FM, Marie-Franz Fordjoe, who was filming the scene with her mobile phone, was pulled away by her braids and slapped in the face by the guards.

The attack was widely reported by the media and condemned by various individuals and organisations including MFWA and the GJA who called on the leadership of your party to take action against the perpetrators.

We are dismayed at the fact that despite these calls, your outfit has still not reacted to the wanton assault on the four journalists, 32 days after the incident. We consider this attitude to be unbecoming of the NPP which is one of the biggest political parties in Ghana and the ruling party.

It is important to note that the General Secretary of the NPP, John Boadu, has recently condemned the attack on a member of the party, Kwame Baffoe, popularly known as Abronye DC, whereas no single word has been said about the attack on the journalists which happened much earlier.

We are therefore petitioning you directly as the party's leader to use your good offices to ensure that the party formally condemns the incident, renders apologies to the victims and punishes the perpetrators.

We wish to take the opportunity to urge you and the NPP leadership as a whole to take steps to stump out the growing culture of impunity among the party's supporters since its return to power in January 2017.

In his recent encounter with the media, the President said that vigilantism has no party colours and asked the Police to deal with the menace. We have put the Inspector General of Police in copy of this petition, believing that his outfit will act, without prejudice to whatever action your leadership will take, to ensure that the assailants of the journalists are arrested to face the law.

We are hopeful that you would respond favourably to this petition.

Yours sincerely,

Sulemana Braimah
(Executive Director)

CC:

The Inspector General of Police,
General Headquarters,
Accra

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