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UTV studio attack: 16 NPP supporters fined GH¢2,400 each

UTV attackers

An Achimota Magistrate Court in Ghana convicted and fined 16 members of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) for invading the premises of UTV and obstructing its primetime show. The court ordered each person to pay a fine of GH¢2,400. The convicts were charged with conspiracy to commit a crime and rioting, and they pleaded guilty to the charges.

The incident occurred on Saturday, October 7, 2023, during the live broadcast of the show United Showbiz. The NPP members believed that the show was consistently criticizing the government in an unfair and unprofessional manner. They also claimed that a letter from the NPP to the management of UTV regarding the reform of the show was torn apart on-air by A Plus, a political activist and regular panelist of the show.

Following the invasion, the National Media Commission and the Ghana Journalists Association condemned the incident. The Ghana Journalists Association described the act as “barbaric and medieval” and criticized it as part of a growing trend to establish a state of impunity against the media.

While some party members initially tried to deny the affiliation of the group to the NPP, the National Youth Organiser of the party, Salam Mustapha, confirmed that all the young men who invaded the media house were indeed known members of the party. He stated that he personally knew them and that they included constituency youth organizers and a Deputy Greater Accra Youth Organiser. However, he emphasized that the party did not sanction their actions.

It is important to note that this incident has raised concerns about press freedom and the safety of journalists in Ghana. The media has played a vital role in Ghana’s democratic development, and attacks on journalists and media houses are seen as threats to the principles of democracy and free speech.

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