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Assaulting journalists in Ghana is not only a crime but also an attack on the country’s democracy, Kwaku Asare, a U.S.-based Ghanaian Professor of law, has said.
According to him, such attacks can lead to extreme provocation that can breach the peace of the country and lead to other deadly consequences.
His comments come on the heels of attacks on a Multimedia Group journalist by Hajia Fati, a supporter of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP).
Madam Fati has been accused of slapping the Adom FM journalist who was covering events at the NPP’s headquarters on Friday as the party’s suspended Second National Vice Chair, Sammy Crabbe, went to pick his nomination forms.
She allegedly slapped Ohemaa Sekyiwaa as she tried taking pictures of her at the party’s headquarters.
According to Ohemaa Sekyiwaa, Hajia Fati was infuriated at Mr Crabbe, for coming to the party's headquarters to pick nomination forms to contest in the upcoming elections. In her bid to get an interview, the embittered Hajia Fati smashed the reporter's phone and punched her mouth, accusing her of working for Mr Crabbe.
Commenting on this development on his Facebook page, Prof Asare said: “A free press is as vital to democracy as onions are essential to soup. It is not just a serious crime to assault and batter a newsperson who is trying to bring information to the public, it is an attack on democracy itself.
“Further, such assault and battery can lead to extreme provocation that can breach the peace and lead to other deadly consequences.
“This is Ghana but the police must treat such offenses with the seriousness that they deserve.”
The Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) has also condemned the attack.
GJA President Roland Affail Monney said at a press conference in Accra on Monday, 7 May 2018 said : “What is more worrying is that some of her attacks on journalists including Adom FM reporter’s case were launched at the NPP headquarters, giving the impression, even if erroneously, that the ruling party endorses her violence on us.
“The GJA is considering various options including legal action to end such impunity against journalists, which we consider to be a violent attack on press freedom.”
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