Ace investigative journalist and Editor-in-Chief of the Fourth Estate, Manasseh Azure Awuni has argued that the New Patriotic Party did not break any law for writing to United Television to register its displeasure at the station’s editorial content.
He stated that the New Patriotic Party had the right to write to United Television and he disagreed with those who argued the party did not have the right. He positioned that the station also had every right to disregard the party’s concerns if it found that it had no merit.
According to Mr. Awuni, the station or the panelists may disagree with the content of the letter, but the constitution of Ghana that gives journalists and panelists the right and freedom to express their opinions also gives groups such as political parties to express their disagreement in a manner that is legal.
“The New Patriotic Party (NPP) has the right to register its displeasure at the editorial content of UTV in the form of the letter that the party wrote to the station. The NPP will not write to Radio Gold to complain about similar matters. In the same way, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) will not write to Oman FM to complain about biased paneling or editorial issues of that nature.
“Writing to UTV means the party trusts and expects fairness from UTV. That is the duty of all responsible media houses and those who think they are attacked unfairly can complain, especially when the party on the receiving side of the commentary has no way of responding to the comments made on the show”.Manasseh Azure Awuni
Mr Awuni stressed that even though he does not endorse the content of the New Patriotic Party’s letter, he approves of the party’s right to complain, even if the complaint was ‘senseless’.
Manasseh Condemns Attack On UTV
The Editor-in- Chief of the Fourth Estate further argued that the sixteen persons who invaded the studios of United Television had no right or justifications for doing so no matter their dissatisfaction of the content of the United Television’s programme.
He condemned the action by the sixteen persons believed to be affiliated to the New Patriotic Party and called for immediate action by the Ghana Police Service in order to prevent the culture of lawlessness in the country.
He bemoaned of the many attacks on media houses and personalities by party hoodlums under the current government and the failure of state institutions to punish offenders involved in such despicable conduct.
“Even if the panelists had insulted the president’s mother’s genitals in the Ga language, the supporters had no reason to do what they did. What they did is unlawful and should not be justified in any way. It is unfortunate that they may walk free after the face-saving intervention by the state authorities that should act to stop such impunity in the future. Even those who threatened Ahmed Suale and publicly ordered attacks against him are free after he was murdered. Ahmed Suale’s death is now being trivialised in comical political exchanges”.Manasseh Azure Awuni
According to Mr. Awuni, the Saturday night’s, October 7 2023 incident at the United Television is not an isolated case as there are numerous instances where party thugs have attacked media houses under the current administration.
He chastised President Akuffo Addo and the New Patriotic Party’s administration for its failure to protect media and press freedom in the country.
“I have been saying over the years that press freedom jumped out of the window when Akufo-Addo walked in through the door. Our ranking on the World Press Freedom Index confirms the obvious. I have been a journalist under President Mahama and can tell that the body language of a president determines how his followers will react to voices of dissent. Unlike presidents Kufuor, Mills and Mahama, Akufo-Addo is intolerant.
And our elders say baby antelopes learn how to eat grass by watching the mouth of mother antelope. We’re in this irredeemable quagmire because mother crab is crawling and baby crabs are also crawling, so we have no one to teach the other how to walk. We only pray that come January 2025, this alleged human rights lawyer will leave Ghana in the mendable pieces to which he has broken our democracy”.Manasseh Azure Awuni
According the Nieman fellow, the scariest part of the United Television’s invasion was how the party supporters got access to the studios of the station.
He therefore called on media houses to put security measures in place to prevent public invasion into it studios like what happened on Saturday night’s, October 7 2023.