A radio presenter of a prominent private station, Fox FM in Ghana’s second largest city, Kumasi, was attacked together with a panellist by thugs reported to be supporters of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) during a live political programme on Monday, April 25, 2016,
According to media reports on the incident, the mobsters numbering about six, violently broke into the studios of the radio station during a live programme and attacked the presenter and a panellist on the programme.
The incident is said to have happened during an afternoon political programme on the station on Monday afternoon. According to the host of the programme, Kwaku Kyere, who spoke to Accra-based Citi FM, one of the panellists on the programme, Mr. Baah Acheamfuor, had made a comment about the NPP on the programme even though the NPP was not the subject for discussion on the programme.
The attackers, who were apparently angered by comments made by Mr. Acheamfour, stormed the station on motorbikes, overpowered security men at the station and violently stormed the studios. According to various media reports corroborated by Nana Anokye, a producer of the programme, upon entering the studios, the well-built attackers pounced on Mr. Acheamfuor. The Presenter of the show, Kwaku Kyere, was also hit by the attackers. The police were called to save the situation but they arrived after the attackers had sped off on their motorbikes.
Mr. Acheamfuor is said to be a known supporter of the opposition NPP but a fierce critic of the party’s leader Nana Akufo-Addo. In September 2015, there were reports in the media indicating that Mr. Acheamfuor was to face disciplinary actions by the NPP for making certain allegations against some leaders of the party. Earlier in May, Mr. Acheamfuor had accused the party’s leader of failing to unite factions within the party.
The MFWA finds the attack on the radio station, the programme host and panellist extremely worrying and distasteful. The incident epitomises intolerance for dissenting political views and criticism and a belief that violence can be a solution for muting critical voices in political discourse.
The attack on the radio station also highlights the need for media organisations to prioritise safety of their workers and deploy mechanisms for ensuring same.
The MFWA commends the police for their timely intervention that saved the situation and urges the regional police command to thoroughly investigate the matter and bring the perpetrators to book.
We also call on the NPP to condemn the incident in the strongest possible terms and pronounce its intolerance for such violent acts by any groups or individuals in the name of the party. Such condemnation and pronouncement will help discourage any groups or persons from resorting to such condemnable acts.