The 16 sympathisers of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) who invaded the studios of United Television (UTV) on Saturday, October 7 during its flagship entertainment show United Showbiz have been convicted and fined GH¢2,400 each. The ruling was given by an Achimota Magistrate Court on Monday, October 16.
They were charged with conspiracy to commit crime and rioting. They all pleaded guilty to the charges. In default of the fines, they will be in prison for 3 months. They were also made to sign a bond of good behaviour each for the next six months.
The 16 were part of some youth who stormed the studios of UTV, demanding the whereabouts of one of the panellists, Kwame Asare Obeng, popularly called A-Plus, who had in the previous edition of the show shredded an NPP letter written to the management of the station.
They had breached security to enter the studios during the live broadcast of the show.
However, following a complaint from the Despite Media Group and Ministry of Information immediately, the police proceeded to the scene and arrested 16 persons.
They were later granted bail.
On Monday, the case was called and the judge convicted all the 16.
Their action was widely condemned by all the major stakeholders including the NPP.
“It has come to the attention of the leadership of the New Patriotic Party an unfortunate incident that occurred last night at UTV involving some sympathisers of the NPP who went to the studio to raise a protest against the United Showbiz programme,” began NPP’s statement issued by Communications Director Richard Ahiagbah the following day.
“We wish to state forcefully that the said act was not sanctioned by the party, and we apologise unreservedly to UTV, the programme team, and the general public.”
The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) named some of the persons who were involved in the dastardly act.
“It later emerged that these thugs were led by the Klottey Korle Youth Organizer of the New Patriotic Party, under the orders of Ernest Owusu Bempah, a Deputy Director of Communications and other leading figures of the ruling party,” NDC’s statement issued by National Communication Officer Sammy Gyamfi said.
“The NDC condemns this shameful act in no uncertain terms, as there can be no place for such uncivilised and beastly conduct in a democracy.
“Yesterday’s event sets Ghana’s democracy back and further erodes our fast dwindling press freedom fortunes as a country.
“We in the NDC are deeply worried about the level of intolerance of dissenting views in Ghana today under the tyrannical Akufo-Addo/Bawumia/NPP government. We completely condemn the extent to which the ruling NPP is determined to go to institutionalise a culture of silence.”
“We are informed that about 30 hooligans attacked the studios of the Accra-based private television station, and although the Police arrested some of them, others managed to escape,” the Ghana Journalists’ Association stated.
“The GJA expects the Police to arrest and prosecute the perpetrators expeditiously just as they exemplarily and commendably executed in the case of the attack on Dagbon FM in Tamale in May this year.
“The GJA also calls on the government, non-government organisations (NGOs), civil society organizations (CSOs), the diplomatic community, international agencies and all well-meaning Ghanaians and people of good conscience to roundly condemn this barbaric act and the masterminds of same.”