Akufo-Addo superintending “barbaric” attacks on journalists, press freedom – NDC

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The main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has demanded the resignation of the Minister of National Security, Mr Albert Kan-Dapaah, over the alleged torture of the Deputy Editor of news website ModernGhana, by operatives of National Security and also accused President Nana Akufo-Addo of presiding over “barbaric” attacks on press freedom and journalists.

“It is a shame that President Akufo-Addo is presiding over these barbaric attacks on press freedom and egregious human right violations. His deafening silence on this and similar acts of repression does not do his reputation any good. As a vainglorious believer in the rule of law and a self-acclaimed human rights champion, he can do better”, a statement of the NDC said on Tuesday.

Mr Emmanuel Ajarfor Abugri claims security men tasered, kicked and punched him while he was in their custody or nearly 48 hours.

Mr Abugri and one other ModernGhana journalist, Emmanuel Britwum are being investigated for cybercrime and hacking allegations.

The National Security Secretariat has denied torturing Mr Abugri and described his claims as “false” and meant to divert the focus of the allegations against him.

In a statement issued by the NDC on Tuesday, 2 July 2019, the party said: “We join many well-meaning Ghanaians in registering our revulsion to this barbaric act, and wish to express our deepest concern over deteriorating press freedom under President Akufo-Addo”.

The statement signed by the NDC’s National Communication Officer, Mr Sammy Gyamfi, said: “The time has come to say enough is enough! The time is now for the Ghanaian people to bare our teeth at this Akufo-Addo government and send a clear message to this regime that Ghana’s democracy and our freedom of speech were won at a price, and not gifted to us on a silver platter.

“The media has always been a critical lighthouse of our democracy whose light is fast dimming under President Akufo-Addo, as Ghana’s enviable reputation of a democratic torchbearer in Africa remains under threat”.

The party said it “hereby calls on Albert Kan-Dapaah to immediately resign as National Security Minister or be suspended by the President, to allow for a full-scale investigation into allegations of torture of the journalists. We submit that all those found culpable must be dealt with in accordance with law”.

Below is the full statement

KAN DAPAA MUST RESIGN IMMEDIATELY OVER TORTURE OF MODERNGHANA.COM JOURNALISTS.

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) receives with utter disgust and complete outrage, news of the manhandling of journalists associated with ModernGhana.com, an online news portal by operatives of the National Security. We join many well-meaning Ghanaians in registering our revulsion to this barbaric act, and wish to express our deepest concern over deteriorating press freedom under President Akufo-Addo.

Sometime last week, Ghanaians woke up to news of yet another gestapo-styled arrest of News Editor of an online news portal called ModernGhana.com by operatives of National Security. The journalists had been picked up for publishing two news articles that were deemed to be unfavourable to the Akufo-Addo government.

It has now emerged that the journalists in question, Emmanuel Ajafor Abugri and one other were whisked away by gun-wielding operatives of the National Security, with their heads strapped in black polythene bags, tortured, electrocuted and subjected to inhumane treatment.

The attack comes at a time our nation is witnessing an upsurge in repeated and consistent attacks on journalists in their line of duty. It is a sad narrative today, that the once revered National Security of Ghana has now become a political tool for terrorizing journalists and political opponents.

The attacks on press freedom, free speech and the creeping culture of silence that we are witnessing under President Akufo-Addo are a natural culmination of our collective silence over one too many attacks on journalists which have gone unpunished in recent time. To remain silent is to allow evil to triumph, to keep mute over these happenings is to encourage this sinister tide.

Not too long ago, Ahmed Hussein-Suale, an associate of ace investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas was murdered in cold blood after being threatened with harm and death by an NPP Member of Parliament, Kennedy Agyepong. What was his crime? He exposed the rot and corruption that had taken over the high echelons of Ghana football with the direct complicity of President Akufo-Addo and elements in his government.

Also, Manasseh Azure Awuni, an investigative journalist with the Multimedia Group was threatened, harassed and forced into exile for his expose’ that revealed the clandestine activities of state-sponsored militia group called ‘De Eye’ at the Osu Castle. Again, Edward Adeti, a Journalist with Starr Fm was harassed and threatened with death for exposing the corrupt activities of Hon. Rockson Bukari, a Minister of State at the Presidency.

The time has come to say enough is enough! The time is now for the Ghanaian people to bare our teeth at this Akufo-Addo government and send a clear message to this regime that Ghana’s democracy and our freedom of speech were won at a price, and not gifted to us on a silver platter.

The media has always been a critical lighthouse of our democracy whose light is fast dimming under President Akufo-Addo, as Ghana’s enviable reputation of a democratic torchbearer in Africa remains under threat.

The NDC hereby calls on Albert Kan-Dapaah to immediately resign as National Security Minister or be suspended by the President, to allow for a full-scale investigation into allegations of torture of the journalists. We submit that all those found culpable must be dealt with in accordance with law.

It is a shame that President Akufo-Addo is presiding over these barbaric attacks on press freedom and egregious human right violations. His deafening silence on this and similar acts of repression does not do his reputation any good. As a vainglorious believer in the rule of law and a self-acclaimed human rights champion, he can do better.

These barbaric acts will forever remain a blot on his reputation if he fails to act. He must for once, live up to expectation by ensuring that justice is served in this matter. Any attempt to trivialise this issue as we have seen in times past will only encourage the impunity that is already on the prowl in our nation. The time to act to safeguard our democracy is now.

Signed.

Sammy Gyamfi

National Communication Officer, NDC

Source: Ghana/ otecfmghana.com

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