The National Organiser of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), Mr Sammy Awuku has said he believes there is a grand conspiracy against the Akufo-Addo administration with regard to the alleged torture of Mr Emmanuel Ajarfor Abugri, the Deputy Editor of ModernGhana.
Though Mr Awuku failed to mention any names, he explained: “The foul play I suspect is that there seems to be a deliberate attempt to smear this government as not being media-friendly but the NPP’s antecedent and our past records would tell you that anything that has gone to improving the rights of journalists has been fought [for], approved and we make sure we advocate it under an NPP administration.”
Mr Awuku expressed these statements in an interview with Class News during a tour of the Northern Region on Thursday, 4 July 2019, to monitor the ongoing limited voter registration exercise.
In his view, somebody somewhere is deliberately trying to paint a picture that the government is intolerant; “that the government is gagging free speech in the country.”
The NPP Organiser stated that the welfare of journalists and the media has always improved under a government led by the NPP.
“It won’t be under President Akufo-Addo that journalists would be tortured and, so, I want to strongly defend that I suspect foul play, I want all of us to interrogate this further”.
“Under NDC, they carried journalists in tipper trucks to cover national events; you’ve seen what we do. Journalists, even when they’re moving in a presidential convoy within the regions, are kept in vehicles that could easily collapse on the road but it doesn’t happen under Akufo-Addo; he brings you and makes sure that journalists are also comfortable just as the president is in his vehicle, they are given equal respect and treatment. We don’t discriminate whether opposition media or pro-government, they all have access to travel with the president abroad,” Mr Awuku stated.
Mr Awuku described the alleged torture as unfortunate but indicated that it cannot be compared to the bizarre conditions of the media under the opposition NDC era where journalists were treated with disrespect, beaten to a pulp and their gadgets smashed.
He, however, noted that the call by civil society organisations for President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to intervene in the matter is not out of place.
The government cannot ignore the voice of CSOs as they also add to the checks and balances in the system, Mr Awuku noted.