Dr Charles Wereko-Brobby has criticised President Akufo-Addo, Kweku Sakyi-Addo and Albert Kan Dapaah for abandoning their pedigrees as press freedom fighters.
According to the outspoken former Chief Executive of the Ghana@50 Committee and renowned press freedom advocate, the positions the trio occupy and the current happenings in the media space ran contrary to their long years of media freedom activism.
Dr Wereko-Brobby, with the support of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and the current Minister for Security, Albert Kan Dapaah, made history in 1994 for operating Ghana’s first private radio station – Radio Eye – for one day.
The establishment of Radio Eye is regarded as the first frontal attack against media subversion in Ghana.
The radio station was shut down by security forces for broadcasting without a licence.
That incident earned him the nickname ‘Tarzan’ after a minister likened his fight for media freedom to how Tarzan – a fictional character in a popular jungle story – jumps from tree to tree.
Speaking Monday on current affairs programme, PM Express, on the Joy News channel on MultTV, he said the closure of the two pro-NDC radio stations and other attacks on the media under Akufo-Addo’s presidency were unfortunate.
“Let me put the records straight: the legal person who defended the actions of Radio Eye right from the beginning, right through to the Supreme Court is now the President of Ghana, though I cannot believe that he did it simply because he was defending a client.
“And because of Nana Akufo-Addo’s record as a champion of human rights and freedom of the press and freedom of speech etc, I believe that certain people acted abused his name without his permission,” he said.
He went on: “Secondly, Kan Dapaah, the Minister of Security was a member of the Board of Directors of the Independent Media Corporation of Ghana, the promoters of Radio Eye. I cannot see in what capacity or rationale or reason that Kan Dapaah will send goons to go and raid a radio station. It doesn’t make sense.”
“And third but also important, the Chairman of the NCA, Kweku Sakyi-Addo, cut his teeth and his record of being a fierce defender of media freedom and fighter for freedom press,” he said.
The NCA, however, has explained that it led security forces to shut down the two radio stations because the stations failed to secure the authorisation to operate.
Dr Wereko-Brobby has always held that NCA’s mandate to grant authorisation to radio stations was a significant breach of the constitutional provision of freedom of the press and has promised to head to the Supreme Court to correct that.
“The involvement, whether intended or overt, of these three characters in this unfortunate and flagrant breach of media freedom is unfortunate. It is very, very bad and steps must be taken very quickly to reverse this,” he said.
Ghana has never had press freedom
The former Chief Executive of the Volta River Authority (VRA) also holds the view that although there exist media pluralism and free speech, press freedom has never existed in Ghana.
“The whole thing says that…the press shall be free from the interference of the government and its editorial independence shall be guaranteed. Now for me, that is media freedom. Because it is freedom from the government.
“We’ve never enjoyed it because contrary to what the Constitution said…the law that was established in 1995 setting up the National Communications Authority put the media, by the dint of the fact of allocation of frequency into the hands of the National Communications Authority.
“The National Communications Authority happens to be an agent of government so for that is anathema,” he said.
Watch the video below for more from Monday’s PM Express.