Invasion of UTV Police Swoop On Hooligans … 16 arrested following complaint lodged by MoI … Media C’ssion, PRINPAG, GJA condemn attack

The police have arrested 16 hooligans who allegedly invaded the studios of the United Television (UTV) in Accra last Saturday night and disrupted a live programme. The decision followed a complaint lodged by the Ministry of Information against those who took part in the dastardly act. 

Just when the host of United Showbiz program, MzGee, began her introduction to kick-off the evening’s conversation, there seemed to be some commotion behind the scenes.

Few moments later, a group of agitated people stormed the studio while the show was live on air. It is alleged that they were looking for musician Kwame A-Plus, a regular panellist on the show, to demand his removal from the programme for tearing up a letter said to have been sent to the TV station by the New Patriotic Party (NPP).

Kwame A-Plus apparently had torn the said letter apart on live television the previous week.

The letter contained a complaint from the Communication Wing of the NPP, complaining about how panel members on the show were selected.

Kwame A-Plus, who read the letter on live television last week, tore it apart, arguing that it was needless to have written that letter to UTV, since the entertainment show was not a political platform. A-Plus further argued that per the 1992 Constitution, nobody has got the power to control the editorial content of any media house.

Last Saturday’s incident forced MzGee to halt her introduction, with gospel artiste, Nicholas Omane Acheampong, taking over with performances for almost two hours before the show continued.

However, following a complaint from the Despite Media Group and Ministry of Information, the Police proceeded to the scene and arrested sixteen (16) persons in connection with the incident.Investigations are currently ongoing.


Ministry of Information

The Ministry of Information after making a report to the police has condemned the incident in no uncertain terms, saying under no circumstances should any unauthorised entry into media organisations, in protest at media content, or interference with media work be entertained.

Mr Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah

In a statement issued and signed by Mr Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah, the sector minister, the ministry argued that the right to free expression and the freedom of the media are key pillars of our democracy and must be fiercely protected.

The Ministry further assured that it stands with the police and the courts in the conduct of their duties but encouraged the media, especially broadcast media, show hosts and panelists to do their utmost to help promote national cohesion, even as they exercise their fundamental freedoms.

National Media Commission

The National Media Commission has also issued a statement toexpress concern over the reported attack on UTV and assured the public that it was working with the Ghana Police Service to address the situation.

The Commission bemoaned the increasing use of violence as the preferred method for addressing grievances against the media and journalists and stated that perpetrators of such crimes must realise that violence does not produce better journalism.

George Sarpong – Executive Secretary of National Media Commission

“This is why the Constitution provides anyone who feels aggrieved by the work of the media the opportunity to seek redress through the complaint settlement mechanism of the National Media Commission”, it said in the statement.

The Commission advised that as the country approaches the electioneering process for 2024, it is important for political actors and all Ghanaians to learn that the Ghana we envisage would not be built on the path of violent attacks on journalists.

It disclosed that in the next couple of weeks, the Commission will be rolling out a comprehensive programme to reactivate with key stakeholders the Coordinated Mechanism for the Safety of Journalists to ensure the media continue to operate without fear.


The Private Newspapers and Online News Publishers Association of Ghana (PRINPAG) has also reacted to the incident saying, “we have noted with deep concern the barbaric and uncivilised attack on United Television (UTV) by some thugs during the station’s United Showbiz programme on Saturday, October, 7, 2023”.

Edwin Arthur, PRINPAG prez

In a statement released, they indicated that the association abhorred these attacks on journalists and media houses in the country. Itcondemned the attack in no uncertain terms and without any reservation.

The association bemoaned the occurrence of such acts in a country that used to boast proudly of its rankings on global press freedom indexes.

“It is important to note that, recently Ghana dropped two places – from 60th in 2022 to 62nd in 2023 in the annual Global Press Freedom ranking by Reporters Without Borders (RSF), and a deliberate action to restore hope on the Ghanaian media landscape is urgently needed”, PRINPAG said.

The PRINPAG used the opportunity to call on all stakeholders, especially the Police to expedite action on the 16 persons arrested and put them before a court of competent jurisdiction, so as to serve as a deterrent to others.

Ghana Journalists Association

The Ghana Journalists Association, which has also condemned the attack calledon the government, non-government organisations (NGOs), civil society organisations (CSOs), diplomatic community, international agencies and all well-meaning Ghanaians and people of good conscience to roundly condemn this barbaric act.

Mr Kofi Yeboah – GJA secretary

The association described the conduct as barbaric and medieval, and is very much consistent with the building blocks in recent times to establish a state of impunity against the media, one that is worse than the infamous ‘Culture of Silence’.

According to the GJA, the media in Ghana have survived all forms of clampdown in the past, even under dictatorial regimes, and shall never be intimidated or silenced by any form of attack.

The GJA, which revealed that they had taken notice of the apology rendered by the Director of Communications of the NPP, Richard Ahiagbah, on air when he went toUTV to broker peace said it can only place value on its sanctity, and embrace it beyond rhetoric, if the party sanctions the perpetrators for doing something it did not sanction.

“Indeed, the GJA cannot uphold the sanctity of the apology when spokespersons of the NPP, some connected to the communications directorate, had earlier instigated such hooliganism against the television station without being reprimanded”, they said in a statement.

It also described it disturbing and, unfortunate, for the leadership of the NPP to direct one of its officers to write a letter toUTVdemanding content reforms in respect of the ‘United Showbiz’, although Article 162(4) of the 1992 Constitution frowns on control and interference by the Government [and any other authority] in the editorial opinion and content of media institutions.


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