The National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) says it is “horrified” by the attack on United Television Ghana (UTV), a subsidiary of Despite Media by some young men over the weekend.
“The attention of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) has been drawn to media reports of an alleged attack on an Accra-based television station: United Television (UTV) during a live show last Saturday. The Commission is horrified by this development and condemns the attack in no uncertain terms,” the Commission said condemning it as “unfortunate and disturbing”.
It reckons that such incidents must not be countenanced in a thriving democracy since they have the propensity to throw the country into chaos and erode the democratic dividends achieved over the past three decades.
“Using the youth to perpetrate this unwarranted attack among others is a threat to peace and security especially as the country gears up for the upcoming District Level Elections and the 2024 General Election…The NCCE therefore reiterates the need for Ghanaians especially political parties and actors to avoid intemperate language and uphold the culture of political tolerance enshrined in the Fourth Republican 1992 Constitution. Further, the Commission urges political parties to practice politics of decency that is acceptable in the democratic ethos to help strengthen and safeguard the peace and unity of our nation.”
It also advised persons who feel offended by any media organization to use legal channels to address it.
“Those who feel aggrieved by such views equally have the right to channel their concerns through the appropriate legal means. Such attacks must not be tolerated as they serve as impediments to our fledgling democracy.”
Commending the police for their swift response to the incident, the Commission encouraged them to arrest the remaining perpetrators and expedite their prosecution.
“The NCCE further urges the Service to follow the matter to its logical conclusion and punish the offenders to serve as a deterrent to others.”
Call for Modification
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 has 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”.
So far opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), the, the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) and other Ghanaians have condemned the action of the youth.
In a statement, the GJA characterized the attack as “barbaric” and called on the police to up their game to arrest the rest of the perpetrators and subject them to prosecution. It also called on the stakeholders to join in condemning of the act.
The NDC also issued a statement calling the action “shameful”.
“There can be no place for such uncivilized and beasty conduct in a democracy,” it said.