Ghana Police Must Investigate and Deal with Threats against Multimedia Group Journalists

The Media Foundation for West Africa condemns threats issued online by some unknown individuals against journalists of the Multimedia Group in connection with the coverage of Ghana’s December 7, 2020 general elections, and urge the police to investigate  the incidents and arrest the culprits.

The Management of the media organisation in a letter dated December 14, 2020, and signed by its General Manager (Joy Brands) and the Chief Human Resource Officer, Nana Mbroh Elegba, and Elvis Kwarshie , reported the threats to the Director-General of the Criminal Investigations Division (CID) of the Police.

“We wish to formally bring to your attention and to petition the police to investigate series of threats received by some of our employees who were involved in the coverage of the December 7, 2020 elections. These threats are mainly from social media platforms,” the letter reads.

The journalists targeted with these threats are Evans Mensah, Winston Amoah, Philip Osei-Bonsu, Gifty Andoh-Appiah, Israel Laryea.

The petition by the Multimedia Group was accompanied by screenshots of some of the threats which were sent directly into the targets’ personal Facebook inboxes. Below are some of the threats delivered;

  1. “Send this message to Giftfy Andoh Appiah, Wiston Amoah etc. We are coming for you. You evil deeds that you colluded with your paymasters to perpetrate during the 2020 elections are exposed and well in the public.”
  1. “…you people have allowed us to entertain him for long/ I have serve notice Multimedia, Despite…Evans, Wiston Gary Sefa Kaye Paul etc should just watch. They have police protection but it will amount to nothing. I hereby serve notice again.
  1. Bullets do not discriminate in Asiedu Nketia’s voice.”
  1. “Where did you get your figures from. Your end would be terrible and a disaster.”
  1. “Senseless Man, were your team members at the polling centers? How then did you get to know that the results coming to your so-called studio are the original ones? Should anything happen in the country, you and your team are doomed.”
  1. “You did well by embarrassing yourself all these while and you were given the reward today by Jean Mensa. However, be rest assured that, many of your kind will never know peace in this country because you have proven to be more irresponsible than the president himself and we Ghanaians will teach you a lesson you will never ever forget in your life as a journalist. Watch this space.”

The MFWA denounces these cowardly threats against journalists of the Multimedia Group who worked tirelessly to inform the public about the electoral process. We urge the police to take the threats seriously, investigate them and arrest the authors to face the law.

It is a common trend for governments in Africa to shut down social media platforms under the pretext of preventing reckless use of these networks during elections and other tense moments. Ghana has been fortunate not to have experienced such disruptions and this is because of Ghanaians’ collective belief and confidence that all will use social media platforms responsibly. Such aberrant and criminal conduct online as has been exhibited by these faceless individuals therefore threatens to erode this confidence and online freedom. It must therefore be condemned and punished.

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