An Achimota Magistrate Court has convicted and fined the 16 New Patriotic Party (NPP) members who invaded the premises of UTV and obstructed its primetime show.
According to the court, each person is to pay an amount of GH¢2,400.
The convicts were charged with conspiracy to commit crime and rioting. They pleaded guilty to the charges.
This follows their invasion of UTV studios on Saturday, October 7, 2023, during the live broadcast of United Showbiz.
In their view, the show had become a platform where the government has consistently been unfairly criticised in an unprofessional manner.
They again alleged that a letter from the NPP to the management of UTV to reform the show was torn apart on-air by A Plus, also a political activist and a regular panelist of the show.
The police subsequently arrested and prosecuted them accordingly.
Following the invasion, the National Media Commission and the Ghana Journalists Association condemned the incident.
According to the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), the act was both “barbaric and medieval, and it 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’.”
“We wish to inform such evil minds, both orchestrators and actors, that the media in Ghana have survived all forms of clampdown in the past, even under dictatorial regimes, and that we shall never be intimidated or silenced by any form of attack,” the statement from GJA added.
While some party members had tried to deny the affiliation of the group to the NPP, the National Youth Organiser of the party, Salam Mustapha, confirmed that all the young men who invaded the media house were known members of the party.
Speaking on Ghana’s leading current affairs show on radio, Ekosii Sen on Monday, October 9, Salam Mustapha told the host Osei Bonsu [Alias OB], that it would be disingenuous on his part to deny the affiliation of the young men to the NPP.
He, however, explained that the party did not sanction the actions of the youth, comprising of constituency youth organizers and a Deputy Greater Accra Youth Organiser.
“I can’t be on this platform and claim that I don’t know them. All those in the video I know them. And I can confirm that some of them are constituency youth organisers, and one is a Deputy Regional Youth Organiser [Greater Accra]. They are the guys that I work with, and so I cannot deny their bona fide membership to the New Patriotic Party. As for that, I cannot lie on this platform. They’re NPP members that I work with, and I can state emphatically that I know them” he noted.