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NDC RENEWS ATTACKS ON MEDIA:TWO NEWSMEN ASSAULTED

Politics

In what may be seen as renewed hostilities with the media by the National Democratic Congress, two journalists have been battered by the opposition party in the space of three days.

In what may be seen as renewed hostilities with the media by the National Democratic Congress, two journalists have been battered by the opposition party in the space of three days.

The brutality took place at the very time that the nation was celebrating the work of Ghanaian journalists with a ceremony to mark the 23rd Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) awards in Accra.

Mahama set tone?

The NDC has a history of antagonistic positions against the media.

In the heat of the 2016 general election, former President John Dramani Mahama echoed the party’s age-old antipathy towards the press. He claimed that “a cabal” had taken control of Ghana’s news outlets and was blocking his party’s so-called message of transformation and stopping it from reaching the electorate.

“It is populism; a certain group has taken control of the media in Ghana and it makes it difficult for people to discern the truth,” Mr Mahama said in an interview with Ovation magazine.

“So as much as you are putting out the information, it is either being blocked or distorted.”

Some people believe the open expression of antipathy towards the media by the aspiring NDC presidential candidate set the tone for assaults on journalists by members of the opposition party.

Joy man slapped

Kwesi Parker Wilson, a Joy FM reporter, is the latest victim of the NDC’s assaults on journalists. He was reportedly slapped on Monday at the Pentecost University College by Mr Mahama’s security detail while covering the former President’s campaign to become the NDC’s presidential candidate.

The assault left Mr Wilson with bruises and swelling on the right side of his face, Joy FM said.

According to Parker, he wanted to follow the former President to meet university officials after spending some time with the students. However, the security detail did not allow him and his cameraman access, insisting that journalists were not invited.

Parker’s attempts to explain to the security officer that he was with Mr Mahama and had been covering all his activities were said not to have gone down well with him.

“He started pushing me and eventually slapped me. I went blank and fell. As I speak to you, my right eye is teary,” he told Joy News.

In a short statement, Mr Mahama’s office said the former President had reached out to the reporter to offer his apologies.

The statement offered assurances that the matter was being investigated.

Top FM man beaten

Before the Monday attack, another reporter with Accra-based Top FM had been assaulted at the weekend by a member of the newly formed NDC vigilante group the Hawks during the party’s conference to elect youth and women leaders.

According to Emmanuel Sackey, who sustained serious injuries to his mouth, he had wanted to speak to the newly elected deputy youth organiser, Edem Agbana, but a security guard in a “Hawks” T-shirt sought to prevent him from conducting the interview. Agbana then began talking to some party activists.

“After his interaction, he walked to me for the interview to be conducted but during the interview, the member of the Hawks vigilante group walked towards us and prevented me from conducting the interview.

“I asked why he was not allowing me to conduct my interview and the next thing he did was to punch me in the face,” Mr Sackey said in a radio interview.

He said he is disappointed that the NDC has so far failed to initiate any investigation into the assault.