The Minority in Parliament says the Free Media Vanguards (FMV) and its allies, who are campaigning against the closure of some radio stations in the country, has its support as they demonstrate in Accra on Tuesday, May 21, 2019.The protest dubbed “March for Free Expression", which is being organized by the FMV is to kick against the closure of pro-NDC radio stations — Radio Gold and Radio XYZ — which the FMV has described as the suppression of press freedom.
According to the organizers, protestors will converge at the El Wak Sports Stadium in Accra by 7 am and march through 37 to the headquarters of the National Communications Authority at Airport City.
A statement signed by Minority Leader, Hon. Haruna Iddrisu on Sunday said the closure of more than 6 radio stations by the government for what it describes as authorization breaches have created ” a climate of fear, impunity, and arbitrariness” in the country which ” requires an unwavering and formidable resistance from all those who believe in true democracy and constitutionalism.”
Condemning the act, the Minority Leader said “The Minority, similarly, denounces the crude and selective closure of other radio stations across the country in conduct reminiscent of how brutal dictators operate.”
Below is the statement
Press Statement [19/05/2018]
MINORITY DECLARES SUPPORT AND ANNOUNCES PARTICIPATION IN TUESDAY’S MARCH FOR FREE EXPRESSION
The Minority in Parliament wishes to declare its full support for the “March for Free Expression” which is being organized by Free Media Vanguards (FMV) and its allies in Accra on Tuesday the 21st of May, 2019.
The Minority is of the firm conviction that the current fascist tendencies of the Akufo-Addo Government which has created a climate of fear, impunity and arbitrariness requires an unwavering and formidable resistance from all those who believe in true democracy and constitutionalism.
We reiterate our absolute condemnation of the coordinated and simultaneous May 9, 2019 Gestapo-style raid of Radio Gold and Radio XYZ led by state security operatives armed to the teeth at a time both stations were broadcasting live a press conference by the NDC Council of Elders to protest the intimidation and harassment of our National Chairman, Samuel Ofosu Ampofo.
The Minority also notes that nowhere in the June 18, 2018 decision of the Electronic Communications Tribunal in the case of Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (suing for and on behalf of Mascott Mulitmedia Ltd & 8 others) versus National Communications Authority presided over by the venerable Prof. Date-Bah JSC (retired) was such an action recommended contrary to the dubious claims of the National Communications Authority (NCA) which, in fact, was rather the losing party.
The Minority, similarly, denounces the crude and selective closure of other radio stations across the country in conduct reminiscent of how brutal dictators operate.
We shall like to point out that the fundamental human rights of free speech and the freedom and independence of the media as guaranteed by the 1992 Constitution of Ghana must be safeguarded and we in the Minority will join progressive forces to ensure that this sinister but determined erosion of our constitutional rights by the Akufo-Addo administration is defeated.
The Minority decries the current situation where journalists such as Manasseh Azuri Awuni and Edward Adeti are on the run due to threats on their lives just because they did stories critical of the Akufo-Addo Government. The unresolved assassination of Ahmed Hussein-Suale after an NPP MP exposed his identity and the increasing cases of attacks on journalists which all culminated in Ghana losing its number one place as the freest country for the media in Africa and dropping on the World Press Freedom Index requires that all well meaning Ghanaians rise up to demand an end to this creeping dictatorship.
We are shocked that under a President who styles himself as a human rights champion and one who appeared before our courts in Republic versus Independent Media Corporation of Ghana and Others [1996-97] SCGLR 258 and New Patriotic Party versus Ghana Broadcasting Corporation [1993-94] 2 GLR 354-393 where he argued in a sharp contrast against the very things he and his political appointees at the NCA are currently and unabashedly engaged in.
May we afford this opportunity to commend all those including the Ghana Journalists Association, Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association and the Media Foundation for West Africa who have boldly and roundly condemned the orchestrated attacks on media freedom.
For the avoidance of doubt, the Minority in Parliament pledges its full support for Tuesday’s March and announces its decision to participate in this all important march which seeks to confront and defeat the cowardly forces of oppression and tyranny.
It is our expectation that many more Ghanaians will stand up to be counted in this defining moment of history.
Hon. Haruna Iddrisu (MP)
Minority Leader in Parliament