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General News of Thursday, 10 May 2018

Source: Myjoyonline.com

Assault on journalist: OccupyGhana condemns ‘half-hearted’ NPP apology

Pressure group, OccupyGhana, has condemned the “forced” and “half-hearted” apology by the governing NPP following the assault on a Journalist of the Multimedia Group by a party supporter.

Hajia Fati, the staunch party supporter, slapped Ohemaa Sekyiwaa on May 4, 2018, while covering events at the NPP headquarters.

Hajia Fati came under a barrage of criticism after the assault but has since apologized for her actions.

Forty-eight hours after the incident, the NPP leadership kept a tight-lip, drawing fierce public criticism.

However, the party later condemned the action.

“We are scandalized by the time it took the New Patriotic Party to publicly condemn the actions of Hajia Fati; and when that came, it was markedly forced, laboured and half-hearted. The NPP appears oblivious to the fact that it has a legal obligation to protect journalists and other persons who they allow into their premises to conduct legitimate business,” OccupyGhana said in a statement on Wednesday 9 May, 2018.

OccupyGhana also urged the Multimedia Group to commence civil proceedings against both Hajia Fati and the NPP, "and to leave no stone unturned in ensuring that justice is done in this matter,” the statement noted.

The pressure group called for an end to attacks on journalists.

The full statement is published below.

OCCUPYGHANA CALLS FOR A STOP ON PHYSICAL ATTACKS ON JOURNALISTS AND FOR THE PROSECUTION OF OFFENDERS

OccupyGhana® wishes to register its total abhorrence at the penchant of persons, particularly those in political authority or with political connections, to assault and batter journalists who are simply doing their work.

The recent reported assault on Ohemaa Sakyiwaa Ahwenepa, a reporter of Accra-based Adom FM by one Hajia Fati, a known member and operative of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) at that party’s headquarters in Accra is reprehensible and ought to be condemned outright. In addition, the perpetrator has to be dealt with to the fullest extent permitted by law.

OccupyGhana® is concerned that these attacks persist because of the failure, neglect or refusal to prosecute offenders.

This has created a culture of impunity that has unfortunately infected and engulfed even the Ghana Police Service, when one considers the recent similarly barbaric, senseless and un-called for attacks on another journalist, Iddrissu Latif also of the Multimedia Group, while undertaking his legitimate journalistic duties.

Examples of such attacks are a legion. However, one thread that runs through them is the non-prosecution of the perpetrators. Added to this is the apparent lack of interest or inability of the victims to commence and sustain civil legal action against their assaulters and the owners of the premises where these assaults occur, particularly the political parties.

We are scandalized by the time it took the New Patriotic Party to publicly condemn the actions of Hajia Fati; and when that came, it was markedly forced, laboured and half-hearted. The NPP appears oblivious to the fact that it has a legal obligation to protect journalists and other persons who they allow into their premises to conduct legitimate business.

OccupyGhana® is heartened to learn about a report of the assault having been filed with the police. We are glad that Hajia Fati has been invited for questioning. We would encourage the Multimedia group to also commence civil proceedings against both Hajia Fati and the NPP, and to leave no stone unturned in ensuring that justice is done in this matter.

In the same vein, we are demanding full disclosure from the Ghana Police Service on its investigations into the assault of Iddrissu Latif, and for the relevant consequential legal processes to take place.

These attacks on journalists must stop forthwith. An attack on journalists going about their legitimate duties is an attack on the entire Ghanaian citizenry. It must not be tolerated! The media as the ‘fourth estate of the realm’ play an integral role in the lives of the state and its peoples. Any party or group that seeks to thwart their work have no right to institutional existence under the Fourth Republican Constitution.

In service for God and Country. OccupyGhana®