The National Democratic Congress in the Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abrem Constituency of the Central Region, has condemned the attack on Elmina-based Benya FM.
In a statement, it called on the government to commission an independent investigation into the incident that took place on Monday.
The party believes the attack was as a result of a discussion on air that was critical of the government.
The attackers stormed the studio whilst a live talk show on fishing and premix fuel distribution issues was ongoing, and assaulted the presenter for speaking against the improper distribution of premix fuel in the area.
“The event at Benya FM cannot be separated from other preceding incidents in which President Akufo-Addo’s Pastor, Rev. Owusu Bempah with men believed to be National Security Operatives viciously and violently attacked the offices of Radio XYZ and Power FM without any locus,” the party said.
“We cannot gloss over the harassment of one of Ghana’s seasoned journalists, Manasseh Azure Awuni, who was hounded out of this country for being critical of the NPP government,” it added.
Because of this perception, the NDC urged the government “to act swiftly to deflate possible accusations in the act of intimidation, vandalism and assault by NPP mercenaries exhibited at Benya FM last night.”
The broadcaster who was assaulted, Eric Blessing Eshun, alleged that the area’s MCE was behind the attack.
The MCE, Ebo Appiah, however, denied the claims.
Find below the full statement
NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC CONGRESS, NDC
KEEA CONSTITUENCY COMMUNICATION BUREAU
17th May, 2022
TO ALL MEDIA HOUSES
NDC CONDEMNS ATTACK ON BENYA 105.7 FM.
The NDC has noted with grave concern the savagery attack on the Elmina based Benya 105.7 FM in the Central Region on Monday-16th May 2022 by muscularly built goons suspected to be operatives of the ruling NPP merely because the radio station was discussing matters of the non-availability of premix fuel and how those who are not fishermen were given the product to the detriment of the real fishers who needs it.
In the middle of the discussion, the goons suspected to be operatives of the ruling NPP who are beneficiaries of the illegal activities on the premix front; stormed the station, disrupted the discussion, pulled down some equipment, vandalised studio properties and mercilessly assaulted the presenter. The radio station immediately went off air and is yet to resume transmission and sadly no arrests has been effected.
The Party, especially the Communication Bureau takes a serious exception to this disgusting incident as well as the many cases of vandalism of studios of the Media Houses deemed critical of the ruling NPP, its presenters and the visitors at the station.
It is taking a notorious dimension under this government to have Media Houses suffer one abuse or the other for being critical of the government and this cannot be acceptable in any civilized democratic society, and Ghana cannot be an exception. It is an irony to have such barbarism being exhibited under a government that touts the credentials of democracy, of which media freedom is a critical component.
The event at Benya fm cannot be separated from other preceding incidents in which President Akufo Addo’s Pastor, Rev. Owusu Bempah with men believed to be National Security Operatives viciously and violently attacked the offices of Radio XYZ and Power FM without any locus. We cannot gloss over the harassment of one of Ghana’s seasoned journalists, Manasseh Azure Awuni, who was hounded out of this country for being critical of the NPP government.
Again, it is on record that, on the 1st of January, 2021 a Citi FM journalist, Umaru Sanda Amadu was embarrassed in public by a police patrol team under the guise of searching for weapons in his car. The arrest and molestation of two other Citi FM Journalists, Caleb Kudah and Zoe Abu-Baidoo on the 11th May 2021 by the National Security Operatives for reporting a story exposing a possible case of financial loss to the state cannot be lost on us. Events of January 2022 at Radio Ada is also not lost on us.
Owing to these inhuman treatment to suppress media freedom by goons associated with the ruling party and State institutions, the government of the NPP has a huge responsibility to act swiftly to deflate possible accusations in the act of intimidation, vandalism and assault by NPP mercenaries exhibited at Benya FM last night.
To succeed in doing that, we wish to passionately advise the government to, as a matter of urgency, commission an independent investigation into the matter and to immediately take steps to bring the perpetrators of such a heinous crime to book.
We finally wish to express our solidarity, and join hands with management and staff of Benya FM and other media Houses that have come under similar intimidation in the struggle to push further the frontiers of media freedom and establish a formidable democracy in Ghana. Thank you.
Comrade Kobby Asmah
Communication Officer, KEEA Constituency