The Minority Caucus in Parliament has condemned the attacked by members suspected to be affiliated to the ruling New Patriotic Party on the United Television live programme dubbed United Showbiz on Saturday night, October 7 2023.
In a statement released by its Leader, Honorable Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson, the Caucus described the conduct as ‘backwwrad, primitive and uncivilized’.
“The Minority in Parliament has noted with concern a planned and deliberate violent attack on United TV (UTV) by hoodlums of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the Akufo-Addo/ Bawumia government during the station’s Saturday night entertainment show, United Showbiz.
We condemn the backward, primitive, uncivilized and violent disruption of the life television programme by the NPP thugs whose singular motivation was to visit mayhem and anarchy on the station as well as the show’s host and panelists”.Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson
The Ajumako Enyan Esiam legislator noted that, as a matter of public record President Akufo-Addo led New Patriotic Party administration has been unhappy with the United Television Saturday’s late night show for a while now, and has officially written to the station to change the show’s editorial policy and turn it into another ‘praise-singing programme’ for the government.
Ato Forson Chastises President Akuffo Addo For Undermining Press Freedom
According to the Minority leader, Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson Saturday night’s attack on the United Television live programme adds to the already very long list of the New Patriotic Party administration sponsored attacks on the media as part of its ‘systematic clampdown’ on media freedom and free speech.
He further asserted that President Akufo-Addo and Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia’s government has closed down many FM radio stations across the country for over three years mainly because it perceived them to be critical of its abysmal performance in government.
“Increasingly, the Akufo-Addo/ Bawumia government’s posture has been at variance with the inherent principle of free speech. It is precisely because unpleasant speech is contemplated, that is why free speech is guaranteed in civilized democracies. It is therefore unfortunate that the government tolerates only pleasant speech. The purpose of free speech is defeated if it is limited to just the expression of pleasant speech”.Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson
Dr. Ato Forson therefore chastised President Akuffo Addo and the New Patriotic Party for its continuous bastardization and harassment of media organizations and media practitioners simply because ‘the government does not like what is said or that its poor performance is subjected to public scrutiny and its sins exposed’.
“The government must be reminded that this is a constitutional democracy with media freedoms and free speech guaranteed”.Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson
The Minority Leader, Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson also called on the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) and other civil society groups to roundly condemn the New Patriotic Party administration ‘sponsored thuggery’ and hold the government accountable for such shameful and backward attacks on the media by ‘pro-government goons’.
Meanwhile, the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) has indicated that the invasion of the United Television Showbiz programme on Saturday Night, October 7 2023 was not sanctioned by the party’s leadership.
According to Richard Ahiagbah, the Director of Communications of the party, the New Patriotic Party will assist the Ghana Police Service to ensure that the perpetrators of such action will be held liable by the laws of Ghana.