The 16 persons who invaded the studio of United Television Ghana (UTV) have been slapped with a fine of ₵2,400 each.
“They were subsequently charged for being on the premises for unlawful purpose and arraigned before court today, 16th October 2023. The accused persons pleaded guilty to the charge against them,” a statement by the police said.
It said they were arraigned on October 16, 2023 and got convicted on their plea- the Achimota District Court sentenced them to a fine of 200 penalty units each.
According to the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), “Penalty unit” refers to such units established by the Fines (Penalty Units) Act 2000 (Act 572).
Currently, the monetary value of a penalty unit stands at GH¢12.00. This means the convicts will be liable to pay GHC2,400 each. In default, they will serve three months imprisonment.
The convicts were also ordered by the Court to sign a bond to be of good behaviour.
Some young men associated with the NPP stormed the studio of UTV where a live show was airing on Saturday, October 7, 2023. This was after a panel member appeared shredding a letter from the NPP demanding reforms in the programme during the previous edition (September 30) of the show.
Sixteen of them were arrested by the police after a complaint by the organization and the Ministry of Information.
The NPP on September 19 wrote to the Management of UTV registering their displeasure at what they called lending the programme to serve the interest of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC).
“The programme now frequently features intemperate language, unconstructive rants and outright insults directed at the Presidency by panelists. This has become a recurring pattern that raises the question of whether the show has inadvertently transitioned into a political talk show,” a portion of the letter said before calling for balance in representation.
On the 30th September edition of the programme, a panel member on the show, Kwame Asare Obeng known as A-Plus appeared shredding the letter in pieces.
He criticized the NPP’s attempt to dictate the pattern for the programme and indicated that it was not a political show.
The youth found the conduct of the panel member disrespectful and therefore stormed the station on the next edition to demand his removal from the show.
Meanwhile, the NPP distanced itself from the conduct of the gang.
“We wish to state forcefully that the said act was not sanctioned by the party, and we apologise unreservedly to UTV, the programme team, and the general public.”
In a press statement on Sunday, the party condemned the action saying, “Advancing in numbers to interrupt the work of any media house is unacceptable, and we condemn it.”
It added, “The right of citizens to free speech is one of the cardinal values of our party, and we are committed to its advancement. The proper way for anyone to express any concerns over any programme by any media house would be to make a formal complaint.”
It also disclosed its intention to cooperate with the investigators to “deal with the matter expeditiously”.