Of Media Hubris, Hoodlums, GJA, NCCE (1)


Last Saturday, the political and media landscape was taken by some hoodlums to express their dissatisfaction about a certain media content.

This group of young people believed to be aligned to the youth wing of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) invaded the studios of UTV to give two members of United Showbiz panel the “baptism of fire.”

In the event, they disrupted the programme for a considerable length of time before the police intervened to arrest 16 people alleged to be part of the group.

Before we address the developments on the media landscape across the country, we want to condemn in no uncertain terms the behaviour of the youth last Saturday. We have zero tolerance for violence and any act of impunity by members of the ruling party and the opposition party, and, indeed all members of our society.

For such backward behaviour, those boys should have been arraigned by now to explain why they should not go behind bars for such shameful behaviour.

We take such a position because almost about a year to the December 7 general election, the political temperature is already at fever pitch, and that is why we all must work towards a peaceful contest.

We should make the culture of impunity very unattractive at this stage of our history so that political actors can be free to sell their messages.

Radio and television studios and newspaper newsrooms should not become the arena to show our strength if we disagree with the views of the media, no matter how provocative.

If we as a people allow such a development to be part of our democracy, the country, sooner than later, may be descending into the state of nature where the survival of the fittest is the norm.

In the era of artificial intelligence, generations that are taming the environment for their good are using their brains not brawns. The latest action by a section of the youth to take the law into their own hands is feeding into a certain perception that the present NPP leadership is losing grip over discipline in the party.

We are happy the party’s Communications Director, Richard Ahiagbah quickly disowned the hooligans, but the leadership must do more to reiterate the position that the party has always won the hearts of Ghanaians with superior arguments but not the revolutionary violence like some other political tradition.

Going into Election 2024, the Ntim-led leadership has a lot of work to do to imbibe in its members the culture of tolerance and not to take the law into their hands.

The NPP is noted for its media friendly posture, for which reason, they should not allow some latter day saints whose way of dissent was to shit bomb media houses to take the credit for the expansion in the media frontiers in the country.

Knowing how fortified media houses have become in recent times to ward off invasions by unwelcome guests, it is difficult to appreciate the ease with which those hoodlums gained access to the UTV studios. We ask the UTV management whether it was a set up to trap the “boys” or it was simply a security breakdown.

Whatever it was, we think the Fada Dickson- led management of UTV has some explanation to give to Ghanaians. Even till date, we are yet to be told about the response of the UTV to concerns raised by the NPP and the disrespect shown by A Plus to the party and the people of Ghana by shredding the letter on live TV accompanied by some unprintable words. Since the incident, we have heard many people including politicians, journalists, commentators and some members of academia postulate that nobody can dictate to journalists.

Yes the 1992 Constitution guarantees the freedom and independence of the media and also frowns on press censorship. The same constitution does not guarantee absolute press freedom like the case of US under the First Amendment.