The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) condemns the assault of Ms Akosua Otchere, a journalist with Accra based Citi FM on October 13, 2023, and urges the police to apprehend and bring the culprits to face the law.
The assault took place while the journalist was covering a vetting process for Parliamentary candidate aspirants of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), at the party’s Greater Accra regional office. While the party was vetting aspirants for its upcoming parliamentary primary in the Odododiodioo constituency, some disgruntled persons resorted to acts of vandalism. The turmoil was soon escalated to the hapless journalist who was only at the venue to report on the vetting process. Vicious and unprovoked, the assault that she suffered resulted in Ms Otchere being hospitalized. Thankfully she has since been treated and discharged.
Needless to say, the assault on Ms. Otchere was distasteful, outrageous and totally unacceptable. It is particularly disturbing, coming only a week after thugs aligned to the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) stormed the studios of Accra-based UTV to disrupt a live programme. This attack by the NDC supporters is regrettable evidence that the widespread outrage and condemnation of the UTV incident had no effect whatsoever on the aggressive temperament of supporters of the two leading political parties. The situation calls for sober reflection and action on the part of the leaders of these parties and a renewed resolve by the police to get tough and uncompromising against political thuggery in general and attacks on journalists in particular.
In view of the above, we challenge the NDC to go ahead and fish out the perpetrators and hand them over to the police, while applying the applicable internal disciplinary measures. This will be the best way to give credibility to the party’s statement condemning its supporters’ action.
We also commend Citi FM’s decision to lodge a complaint with the La Police, as communicated in a statement the media organisation issued after the attack.
So far, the Private Newspaper and Online Publishers Association (PRINPAG) has also released a statement condemning the attack and demanding that the NDC make good its promise to fish out the perpetrators and sanction them.
The MFWA reiterates its abhorrence of the attack on the Citi FM journalist and urges the police to go after the perpetrators and ensure their effective prosecution.
We again urge political parties to stem this tide of wanton attacks on the media by their supporters, by taking measures to re-sensitize its members about the need to protect journalists and the sanctity of their watchdog role in democratic governance.