The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has asked President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to “end the arrest and detention of journalists and civil society activists” in the country.
At least three journalists and a civil society activist have been arrested and charged in the past few weeks by the country’s security agencies for various offences, including publication of false news and disturbing of public peace.
The NDC, in a statement issued and signed by its General Secretary, Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketiah, on Friday and copied to the Ghana News Agency, in Accra, said the Party had observed with dismay the recent “attack on media freedom and free speech by the current government.”
It said the past few weeks had seen a “dramatic upsurge in the criminalisation of free speech as well as unbridled attack on the journalism profession,” with “sharp deterioration in the expression of the right to free speech by this government.”
The statement noted that the nation was yet to find answers to the gruesome murder of investigative journalist, Mr. Ahmed Suale, and that: “In the last few weeks, three journalists have suffered police brutalities and, in some cases, unfair judicial conviction. Journalists are being cowed into silence through the atmosphere of oppression and harassment.
“It is the modus operandi of autocrats and despots to create an atmosphere of fear to silent the voice of opposition and free speech. In all these the police appear complicit, aiding the oppressors to hound citizens of Ghana,” it added.
The statement said it considered the “escalation of arrests and harassments” as an attempt by the government to put fear in Ghanaians opposed to e-levy and douse the impact of the massive “Yentua Demonstration” held in Accra yesterday and said the Party would not relent in its effort both within and outside Parliament to stop the introduction of the E-Levy.
It called on the Clergy, Civil Society Organisations and the Ghana Journalists Association to call out the government to end the “attack.”
“We take this opportunity to call on these groups to speak out against the blatant acts of repression being perpetrated against our young democracy.
“These groups should take note of the rising political instability in the sub-region and speak out now and not wait until matters get out of hands before they host a series of belated interventions and seminars on what went wrong,” it said.