Reacting to the Ghana Journalists Association’s displeasure at his statement on the UTV attack, Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, has called on all to join the government in fighting the growing intolerance in the media space.
Mr Oppong Nkrumah indicated that the GJA has a role to play in the effort of the government.
He emphasized that there is a common enemy to fight which is intolerance.
“I think that it is important to be very clear that we have a common enemy we are fighting. That common enemy is the growing level of intolerance within Ghanaian society which is creeping into the media discourse. The growing resort to violence to express views, and the growing resort to bellicose and insulting language generally, which is creeping into the media. That is what we have been fighting since 2022 January from the Radio Ada incident to the Radio Dagbon incident and now. What I expect of the GJA is to be a part of that solution.
“I just heard part of their statement that is calling on media houses to continue to be professional in their work. I don’t think that the statement that the GJA made is wobbling, I think it is a fair statement and I don’t think anyone else who makes a similar statement has made a wobbling statement.”Kojo Oppong Nkrumah
He further indicated that beyond his statement, he responsively called in the Ghana Police to investigate the matter.
“Remember that it was I who called the IGP that there was a report we had received and that the Police should intervene and deal with. Remember that it was I who called the station saying that we are taking action and we wanted the station to also make a report.”Kojo Oppong Nkrumah
Mr. Oppong Nkrumah’s earlier statement after the attack on the station indicated that his ministry condemned the act in no uncertain terms and urged the media to be professional and promote national cohesion.
“The Ministry condemns in no uncertain terms any unauthorized entry into media organization in protest of media content or interference with media work.
“The Ministry stands with the Police and the courts in the conduct of their duties. The Ministry wishes to encourage the media especially broadcast media show hosts and panelists to do their utmost to promote national cohesion even as they exercise their fundamental freedoms.”Ministry of Information
GJA Expresses Displeasure At Oppong Nkrumah’s Statement
However, citing the Dagbon FM instance, the GJA was unhappy with the statement that he issued.
“The GJA has also taken notice of a press statement issued by the Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, on the happenings at UTV, but we are highly disappointed in the Minister for issuing that wobbling statement. In the second paragraph of the press statement, the Minister tries to justify the barbaric attack by holding that the hooligans entered UTV ‘allegedly without authorization’ when he was the very person who reported to and called in the Police; in the fourth paragraph, the minister avoids direct condemnation of the hooligans and conveniently makes his condemnation general, and, worst of all, in the last paragraph, the Minister imposes a burden on the media to promote national cohesion, regardless of the incessant attacks against them.”GJA
According to GJA, they believe that the significantly varying responses from the Minister in the two events was an unpleasant turn of events.
“The Minister’s press statement is in sharp contrast to another one issued by the PR Unit of his Ministry on May 4, 2023, in respect of the attack on a radio presenter on Dagbon FM in Tamale by a communicator of the National Democratic Congress (NDC). The Ministry’s May 2023 press statement was very direct: the Ministry described the attack as ASSAULT without any ‘allegedly’ clothing; the Ministry condemned the act, specifically without giving it general direction; the Ministry called for ‘severe and speedy response from law enforcement agencies’ to avoid future recurrence; the Minister had a telephone conversation with a victim of assault, and the Minister ‘offered the support of the Ministry if he will require any.’GJA
Notwithstanding, Mr. Oppong Nkrumah believes the common enemy every major stakeholder should fight is intolerance.