Social pressure group, OccupyGhana®, has condemned the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) for offering a "forced" and "half-hearted" apology over the assault of a journalist by a party supporter, Hajia Fati, at the party's headquarters.
“We are scandalized by the time it took the New Patriotic Party to publicly condemn the actions of Hajia Fati; and when that came, it was markedly forced, laboured and half-hearted. The NPP appears oblivious to the fact that it has a legal obligation to protect journalists and other persons who they allow into their premises to conduct legitimate business,” OccupyGhana said in a statement on Wednesday 9 May 2018.
Hajia Fati slapped a journalist of the Multimedia Group who was covering events at the NPP’s headquarters on Friday, 4 May 2018, as the party’s suspended Second National Vice Chair, Sammy Crabbe, went to pick his nomination forms.
She slapped Ohemaa Sekyiwaa as she tried taking pictures of events 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.
Hajia Fati later rendered an unqualified apology to the victim and Ghanaian journalists in general stating that she was sorry and her action was a mistake.
However, OccupyGhana insists she must face the law.
“We would encourage the Multimedia group to also commence civil proceedings against both Hajia Fati and the NPP, and to leave no stone unturned in ensuring that justice is done in this matter,” the statement noted.
The group emphasised that attacks on journalists must stop and should not be tolerated.
Below is the full statement:
OCCUPYGHANA® CALLS FOR A STOP ON PHYSICAL ATTACKS ON JOURNALISTS AND FOR THE PROSECUTION OF OFFENDERS
OccupyGhana® wishes to register its total abhorrence at the penchant of persons, particularly those in political authority or with political connections, to assault and batter journalists who are simply doing their work.
The recent reported assault on Ohemaa Sakyiwaa Ahwenepa, a reporter of Accra-based Adom FM by one Hajia Fati, a known member and operative of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) at that party’s headquarters in Accra is reprehensible and ought to be condemned outright. In addition, the perpetrator has to be dealt with to the fullest extent permitted by law.
OccupyGhana® is concerned that these attacks persist because of the failure, neglect or refusal to prosecute offenders.
This has created a culture of impunity that has unfortunately infected and engulfed even the Ghana Police Service, when one considers the recent similarly barbaric, senseless and un-called for attacks on another journalist, Iddrissu Latif also of the Multimedia Group, while undertaking his legitimate journalistic duties.
Examples of such attacks are a legion. However, one thread that runs through them is the non-prosecution of the perpetrators. Added to this is the apparent lack of interest or inability of the victims to commence and sustain civil legal action against their assaulters and the owners of the premises where these assaults occur, particularly the political parties.
We are scandalized by the time it took the New Patriotic Party to publicly condemn the actions of Hajia Fati; and when that came, it was markedly forced, laboured and half-hearted. The NPP appears oblivious to the fact that it has a legal obligation to protect journalists and other persons who they allow into their premises to conduct legitimate business.
OccupyGhana® is heartened to learn about a report of the assault having been filed with the police. We are glad that Hajia Fati has been invited for questioning. We would encourage the Multimedia group to also commence civil proceedings against both Hajia Fati and the NPP, and to leave no stone unturned in ensuring that justice is done in this matter.
In the same vein, we are demanding full disclosure from the Ghana Police Service on its investigations into the assault of Iddrissu Latif, and for the relevant consequential legal processes to take place.
These attacks on journalists must stop forthwith. An attack on journalists going about their legitimate duties is an attack on the entire Ghanaian citizenry. It must not be tolerated! The media as the ‘fourth estate of the realm’ play an integral role in the lives of the state and its peoples. Any party or group that seeks to thwart their work have no right to institutional existence under the Fourth Republican Constitution.
In service for God and Country.