The Majority leader and Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Osei kyei Mensah Bonsu, has unreservedly condemned the assault on Accra-based Adom FM’s journalist, Ama Sakyiwaa, saying “it was not right.”
The Multimedia Group reporter was assaulted by an activist of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), Hajia Fati, last Friday.
Although Mr Mensah-Bonsu noted that government will take care of the medical bills of Ama Sakyiwaa, he said the attack on her was uncalled for and the New Patriotic Party is disgusted about the incident.
“I have to say this, She does not have any position in the party. She’s not an official but what she did was not good…What is bad is bad [and] we condemn it,” the MP told Kaakyire Appea-Apraku, host of Dwaboase on Power 97.9FM.
Apologising to the Multimedia Group and Miss Sakyiwa, the Suame MP noted that the party will handle the matter as it ought to be.
“We apologise for the act…If It’s the bills we’ll have to foot, we’ll do that,” said Mr Mensah Bonsu.
The vociferous woman is said to have assaulted the reporter who was covering events at the NPP’s Asylum Down headquarters as the party’s suspended Second National Vice Chairman, Sammy Crabbe, went to pick his nomination forms.
According to the journalist, she was assaulted when she tried to take a photograph of Hajia who was preventing Mr Crabbe from picking up forms to contest for the party’s chairmanship position.
There have been calls from renowned journalists to call the NPP woman to order, after she defended her act, saying the reporter did not look like a journalist but an onion seller.
The NPP in a statement signed by Acting General Secretary John Boadu also condemned the act and promised to handle the matter.
In the statement that distanced the NPP from the despicable act, Mr Boadu indicated the party “respects and cherishes the role of the media as partners in development and does not condone any action intended to suppress press freedom.”
“No journalist should feel intimidated and must continue to discharge his/her duties without fear, “ the statement added.
Meanwhile, the Nima Police on Tuesday invited Hajia Fati, to help investigate the circumstances surrounding her attack on the reporter.
Director General of Public Affairs at the Ghana Police Service, ACP David Eklu, said his they begun the investigations after a complaint was lodged at the Nima Police Station regarding the assault.
ACP Eklu said that though Hajia was invited for interrogation, she was subsequently “cautioned and released” on Tuesday.
The barbaric act which took place on Friday May 4, a day after Ghana hosted the World Press Freedom Day, has been widely condemned by Ghanaian journalists both home and abroad.
2014 Journalist of the Year, Mabel Aku Baneseh, a reporter with state-owned Daily Graphic, and a group of female journalists kicked against the attack on the journalist and called for the NPP to call Hajia Fati to order.
Mrs Baneseh further urged her colleague journalists to ignore Madam Fati who she termed as “untouchable.”
“… I’ll urge you to stay away from her. Don’t make any attempt to interview her in the near future. She should never have been given any media space in the first place. Let’s ignore her totally. She doesn’t deserve a microphone or camera but police cells,” Mabel said.
She recounted a series of verbal attacks on some party members and Journalists.
“Hajia Fati threatened Kwakye Afreh-Nuamah, nothing was done to her. She verbally assaulted a Deputy Chief of Staff and another, she wasn’t brought to book. She has prevented a potential candidate from picking up nomination forms, she got away with it. To crown it all, she slapped Ama Sakyiwaa, a female journalist from Adom FM, and nearly destroyed her phone. Fati is a free woman as a usual. It is obvious she’s untouchable. She will continue to misconduct herself until she kills someone one day,” she posted on her Facebook page.
The Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), helmed by Dr Roland Affail Monney has threatened a legal action against the NPP activist.
The call to punish madam Fati was rehashed by ace broadcaster, Bernard Avle, host of the Citi Breakfast show, who also threatened the NPP to handle the matter within the week before the station blacklists their activities.
“If we don’t hear from the NPP within a week on the assault on the Adom FM reporter, we at Citi 97.3 FM will not cover that political party again,” Bernard said on his show on Tuesday morning.