Story: Yaw Takyi
The National Media Commission (NMC) has demanded the prosecution and punishment of persons who invaded Accra based UTV to disrupt a live broadcast on October 9, 2023. Executive Secretary George Sarpong in an interview described the incident as despicable.
“I think it is despicable, we should all work towards avoiding and protecting the media from any such incident again. We are also going to work with the police to ensure that this particular incident is investigated thoroughly and the culprits punished accordingly” , Mr Sarpong stated.
The police have so far arrested 16 persons in connection with the incident. Some of these individuals are believed to be closely affiliated with the governing New Patriotic Party(NPP).
It will be recalled that the party had in a letter urged managers of the Television station to reform the United Showbiz show. It’s Director of Finance and Administration William Yamoah said the programme had strayed from its objectives.
“ it is disheartening that this program has strayed from its intended path and ventured into the realm of a political and propaganda tool masquerading as an entertainment show”, Mr. Yamoah stated in the letter.
This did not sit well with Panellists on the show. Social Activist Kwame Asare Obeng popularly known as A-Plus read the letter on the live show after which he tore it in pieces.
“Nobody in this country can decide what we do on this show”, he fumed.
Host of the show Mzgee was on Saturday, October 9, 2023 opening the show when some young men entered the studios. They have been captured in viral videos shouting and demanding the whereabouts of A-plus. When the police arrived, one of them offered an explanation.
“He was able to sit here and tear our document. That is our property. We need him to render an unqualified apology. We want to be part of the show.”
The Governing New Patriotic Party’s director of Communication Richard Ahiagbah immediately dashed to the studios to offer an apology. He explained the incident was not sanctioned by the party and expects the law to take its course.
“What happened is most unfortunate. We condemn it and apologize”.
The Minister of Information Kojo Oppong Nkrumah issued a statement on behalf of government condemning the incident and calling for media organizations to promote national cohesion.
“The Ministry wishes to encourage the media, especially broadcast media show hosts and panellists to do their utmost to help promote national cohesion…”
The opposition NDC was however not impressed. Its Communications Officer, Sammy Gyamfi blamed the NPP for the attack. He alleged in a statement that the young men were led to the station by the Klottey Korle Youth Organizer of the New Patriotic Party under the orders of Ernest Owusu Bempah, a Deputy Director of Communications.
A-Plus had previously levelled a similar allegation naming Mr. Bempah as the architect of the attack. Mr. Bempah has however in a statement distanced himself from the incident adding that he has filed a criminal complaint against the activist at the police.