Accra based United Television (UTV) has broken its silence over the invasion of its studios by thugs numbering about 30, and identified themselves to be members of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) over the weekend.
Interestingly, although the Police administration, had in statement announced the arrests of 16 of them, the law enforcement body is yet to give out their names and pictures as it has in recent time done with criminal suspects, including some two members of the opposition NDC who perpetuated violence during the parties National Youth and Women’s Congress held on December 10, 2022, at Cape Coast in the Central Region.
The police administration in particular, has kept a tight lid on last Saturday night incident during the TV station’s prime-time entertainment show, ‘United Showbiz’.
In the case of the NDC thugs, the Police in their report, gave out the names of two suspects, Abdul Halid Shaibu alias Oluu and Ibrahim Razak, as among 16 persons declared wanted for their involvement in the disturbances.
The Police, said they were arrested through targeted intelligence operations at Tamale in the Northern Region on January 7, 2023. They were held in custody to assist the Police with investigations.
The Police, said the faces of the suspects have been shown because they had been declared wanted with their images already displayed in their quest to seek public assistance in getting them arrested.
“The targeted intelligence operations are still ongoing to arrest the remaining 14 suspects and we would like to assure the public that we shall surely get them to face justice” the Police said in a statement.
A similar plot is yet to be rolled out in the case of the NPP thugs, who stormed the studio of UTV, disrupted the live programme, and proceeded to threaten to assault the host and her guests especially Kwame A-Plus, a known member of the NPP.
It later emerged that the thugs were led by the Klottey Korle Youth Organizer of the NPP, Commander Mandela Wiafe under the orders of Ernest Owusu Bempah, a Deputy Director of Communications and other leading figures of the ruling party.
UTV, has therefore stressed its resolve not to be deterred by such unethical and disturbing activities as an independent media house.
It said in a release issued on Tuesday that “We condemn this act of violence and vandalism as it violates our fundamental human rights and freedoms, and the independence of the media as enshrined under Chapters 5 and 12 respectively of the 1992 Constitution of our country. We are deeply concerned about this event and we are diligently taking all security and legal measures to prevent the reoccurrence of this unfortunate incident.”
UTV used the opportunity to thank stakeholders for their support and assured its employees of ensuring their safety at the workplace.
Meanwhile, Yaa Konamah, the hostess of UTV’s popular morning show, Adekye Nsroma, has refuted claims that the network received a letter from the NPP regarding the alleged politicization of the prime-time entertainment show United Showbiz.
According to her, UTV never received any official communication from the NPP; rather, the said letter was circulated by the party.
The controversy began when a group of individuals, believed to be associated with the NPP, disrupted a live broadcast of United Showbiz, protesting what they perceived as the politicization of the program.
The group claimed that a letter sent by the NPP to address their concerns had been torn into pieces by one of the show’s pundits, A-Plus.
Despite an apology issued to the station, the NPP maintained that they had indeed sent a letter to UTV to address their concerns about the alleged politicization of the show.
However, Yaa Konamah revealed that the purported letter was never received by UTV’s management.
“That letter, they circulated it. Our management has remained silent on it, but you circulated the letter without giving it to the General Manager you addressed it to. Call Kennedy Osei Asante and ask him if he ever received the letter, he didn’t.
“And for your information, the leaders in the NPP came to apologise. In public, they attacked us and later came to apologise. The said letter, they never sent to the General Manager of Despite Media and UTV. And so, the section of the public saying we gave the letter to A-plus, we didn’t,” she said.
The hostess also clarified that although the action of the hostess of the ShowBiz didn’t stop the pundit, A-plus from tearing up the letter, there were legal grounds that support the actions of the alleged NPP.
“Granted per adventure, Miss Gee (the hostess) didn’t alert A-plus that it was a confidential letter, but the letter was circulating in the public and what crime has he committed that he tore a letter belonging to someone,” she added.
She continued “Morally he didn’t show respect but there was nothing wrong, it wasn’t defamatory.”
In the statement, Despite media condemned the attack on the media house and made it clear that such attack is against media and press freedom. The media house promised to take all security and legal measures to make sure that such occurrence doesn’t happen again.
They also promised the staff of the media house that their safety is their priority and they will do everything to keep them safe always.
They also revealed that some leading members of the NPP have apologized to the media house on behalf of the intruders.
“On the 7th of October, 2023, our Premises were invaded by a group of people who identified themselves as sympathizers or members of the New Patriotic Party (NPP). This group further disrupted our live program, United Showbiz, for which reason, the program was halted for almost an hour.
However, with the timely intervention of the Police, peace and order was able to be restored. We are therefore grateful to the Police Administration, particularly the IGP for their assistance. We will continue to collaborate with the authorities to bring those responsible for this incident to justice.
We condemn this act of violence and vandalism as it violates our Fundamental Human Rights and Freedoms, and the Independence of the Media as enshrined under Chapters 5 and 12 respectively of the 1992 Constitution of our country. We are deeply concerned about this event and we are diligently taking all security and legal measures to prevent the reoccurrence of this unfortunate incident.
We understand that this event has caused concern amongst stakeholders and we want to assure all that, we are taking all the necessary steps to ensure the safety and security of our workers, guests, properties, clients and the interest of all other stakeholders.
We also wish to reassure our employees that we are here for you and will put in place all the necessary measures to ensure your safety at the workplace. We understand that this event may have caused some distress or anxiety amongst our working team but we want to assure you of Management’s support during this time.
We have also had a visit from the General Secretary and some leaders of NPP, who have apologized on behalf of the intruders and condemned the act. They have assured us of the non-occurrence of such an act again.
To our viewers and all other stakeholders including the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), National Democratic Congress (NDC), the leader of The Movement for Change, National Media Commission (NMC), Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA), Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) and other well-wishers, we appreciate the love and support shown us.
We are committed to our values and principles as an Independent Media House and we will not be deterred by unethical and disturbing activities. Our priority is to continue providing quality news and programs while ensuring the safety and security of all stakeholders. We will continue to maintain an impartial and non-biased editorial stance while providing a safe and secure platform for diverse views and opinions to be expressed. Thank you all for your support
This comes after a group of individuals purportedly affiliated with the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) stormed the studios of UTV, causing an abrupt halt to the live broadcast of the popular show, United Showbiz