Four Political Parties have expressed diverse views on growing public concerns in the wake of recent attacks on journalists, particularly last week’s incident in which two journalists were alleged to have been tortured by National Security operatives.
Whereas three of the parties—the National Democratic Congress (NDC), the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) and the Convention People’s Party (CPP) described the recent attacks as a dent on the image of the government, the Liberal Party of Ghana (LPG) believed the attacks
“are calculated attempt meant to make the government unpopular.”
In separate interviews with the Daily Graphic, the parties shared divergent views on how the issue ought to be dealt with, calling for urgent measures to find out the root causes of the attacks.
Meanwhile, the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) has called for an independent body to investigate the alleged torture of the two journalists.
The NDC, in a statement issued and signed on Tuesday by its National Communication’s Officer, Mr Sammy Gyamfi, said Ghana’s democracy “is under threat in the light of a string of attacks on media personnel, hence the need for Ghanaians to send a message to the government that this will not be countenanced.”
It said the media had always been a critical lighthouse of our democracy whose light “is fast dimming under President Akufo-Addo, as Ghana’s enviable reputation of a democratic torchbearer in Africa remains under threat.”
“The NDC hereby calls on Albert Kan Dapaah to immediately resign as National Security Minister or be suspended by the President to allow for a full-scale investigation into allegations of torture of the journalists,” the statement said.
The National Secretary of the PPP, Mr Murtala Mohammed, said the party was unhappy with news of journalists under attack, indicating that the issue could harm Ghana’s democratic credentials.
On the recent alleged attack of two journalists by National Security operatives, he shared the view that the National Security Minister, Albert Kan Dapaah, should step down to allow further investigations to go on.
Mr Mohammed said the government must investigate the issue and deal accordingly with officials found to have been complicit in the torture of the two journalists since any silence on the matter would not solve the issue.
The acting Chairperson of the CPP, Hajia Hamdatu Ibrahim, said the party was against anybody or institution “that attempts to use violence to intimidate journalists,” indicating that the recent alleged attacks on journalists by National Security operatives “does not speak well of Ghana”.
She said journalists “are the mirror of the society and that it would be suicidal for any nation to gag them in the discharge of their duties.”
“We are therefore calling for a proper response from the government through the National Security office regarding the recent alleged torture of the two journalists,” Hajia Hamdatu said.
However, the Chairman of the LPG, Mr John Amekah, was convinced that the alleged torture of the journalists could be a plot to make the President unpopular.
“As a party, we do not think the government in power will rise up and chase journalists for no reason. We do not believe in attacking journalists but we must also be careful so that we do not act as if the government is against journalists,” Mr Amekah said.
There have been about 17 cases of incidences where reporters, photojournalists, station managers and editors have been brutally assaulted by soldiers and policemen.
Some of the attacks have left journalists with serious medical conditions, with others having to battle with injuries.
Two journalists who work with online news portal, ModernGhana.com, were reportedly arrested by National Security operatives on last Thursday night.
Reports suggest they were arrested in connection with the publication of two news articles on the National Security Minister and the President but the National Security secretariat has said it was in connection with a suspected cybercrime.
One of the arrested journalists, Mr Emmanuel Ajafor Abugri (News Editor of ModernGhana), has in separate interviews after his release from National Security custody, stated that he was tortured and assaulted to admit guilt.
The National Security Council Secretariat has denied the allegations and wants the journalist medically examined for proof of torture.