Large groups of aggrieved supporters of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), the main opposition party, days after the country’s general elections violently assaulted journalists and destroyed valuable properties belonging to them. The first of the attacks happened on December 9, 2012 when a mob of NPP sympathisers chased and vandalized the vehicle conveying a crew from privately-owned television station, Metro TV, at the NPP’s office in Osu, a suburb of Accra.
In an interview with the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), Shirley Kwarley Quartey, a reporter of the television station narrated that they had gone to the party’s office to cover a press briefing organised by the leadership of the party. But upon arrival, the visibly angry supporters rushed on them and ordered them to leave immediately, and in the process smashed their vehicle’s windscreen. In a separate incident, a different group of the NPP supporters who had gathered in front of the Nima-based residence of Nana Akufo Addo, flag bearer of the party, on December 10, 2012 attacked and assaulted a group of journalists from privately-owned Joy FM.
The journalists, who were travelling in Joy FM’s branded vehicle, were following the convoy of the AU Chairman, President of the Republic of Benin, Yayi Boni, that was heading to the flag bearer’s house for a meeting. Manasseh Azuri, a member of the crew told the MFWA that immediately the angry supporters who were also wielding sticks saw their vehicle, they pounced on it, hit it several times and ordered the journalists to step out regardless of high security presence.
“They smashed the head lights and but for the timely intervention of the security officers, we would have been lynched,” Azuri said. In a related development two journalists Emmanuel Anteh and Stephen Boadi from privately-owned Joy FM and TV3, respectively were physically assaulted while covering a rally organised by the NPP on December 11, 2012 at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle in Accra, the capital.
The two reportedly met their ordeal while trying to get information about an incident of an alleged stabbing of a supporter of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), when they (journalists) were reportedly ambushed by a group of NPP supporters, who molested and slapped them.
The MFWA condemns these attacks and calls on the leadership of the party to instruct their supporters to desist from any harassment of media personnel conducting their normal functions. We call on the security agencies to provide security to media persons covering political activities, and bring to book anyone who attacks the media.
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