National Youth Organizer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) George Opare Addo, has criticized President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for downplaying the incessant attacks on journalists in the country, saying if he doesn’t see the gravity of attacks on journalists in their line of work then he is sleeping on the job.
He pointed out how it has become the norm for senior party members to call media house owners and chief executives to gag journalists who seem too vocal for the government to condone any criticisms from them. And also the new trend where party supporters take to social media, especially Facebook to troll journalists whom they deem to be working against their government in power.
Mr. Addo said this in an interview with Johnnie Hughes on the New Day show on TV3, Wednesday, June 2.
He was speaking on the heels of the recent speech by President Akufo-Addo at the African Journalists Leaders’ Conference organized by the Federation of African Journalists (FAJ) on Tuesday, June 1. The theme of the conference was “Building Stronger Unions To Enhance Journalism And Media Freedom”.
“I’m sure the President is not in this country, I listened to him when he spoke and said that when journalists are criticized it is not an attack on their work, we all agree, nobody is talking about criticisms. Anybody who speaks, anybody who writes, you should also be willing to take some level of criticism of whatever you put out there because ideas are not sacrosanct. Whatever you put out there, somebody may have a contrary opinion so that is fine but what we are talking about is the attacks on the media. Between December 2016 and 2021, there have been over forty(40) documented attacks on journalists from members of the security forces on various media installations and personalities within that fraternity.
“That is what we are talking about, so the President cannot sit back and claim that he doesn’t know that these things are happening. If not for anything, for the past one month we saw how the National Security operatives attacked Citi FM and even the manner they arrested Zoe. We saw on video how they entered Citi FM and the manner in which they wanted to effect an arrest, and the president cannot tell us that is not an attack on journalists. We saw what happened to the Modern Ghana journalist, we saw what happened to the Whatsapp news and various other people. And we all saw how Manasseh Awuni Azure has been treated in this country, also when people speak, there is a group of young people hired by the government on social media. How do I know that? Is because most of them are government communications people, there are people who sit at the Flagstaff House and I can name a few, their staffers, we see their attacks on people,” he pointed out.