GOVERNMENT HAS through the Information Ministry, petitioned the National Media Commission (NMC) over the Multimedia Group and Manasseh Azure’s Castle Militia aired on JoyNews on March 7, 2019.
The Information Ministry when contacted, confirmed the petition dated March 13, 2019, to DGN Online.
Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, who addressed the media on March 8, 2019, to dismiss claims made in the documentary, signed the seven page petition.
The petition was addressed to the Chairman of NMC, Yaw Boadu-Ayeboafoh
The petition read: “the Government of Ghana brings this complaint pursuant to article 167(b) of the Constitution as well as section 2(1) (b) of the National Media Commission Act, 1993 (Act 449) and invites you to investigate the publication, the subject matter of this complaint”.
Basis of Petition
Joy News and Manasseh Azure indicated in the documentary that De-Eye Group was a militia organization linked to the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) and that the group was training its members at the Osu Castle which was a “security zone.”
Why the petition?
But in the petition available to Daily Guide, Government explained that “a careful examination of the contents of the impugned publication discloses that the first six (6) minutes, twenty (20) seconds of the documentary are about matters totally unconnected to the advertised subject matter of the documentary.”
It alleged that “they largely, showed images from the violence witnessed at the recent Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election, which is the subject matter of an inquiry by a Commission of Inquiry set up pursuant to article 278 of the Constitution (the Emile Short Commission).”
According to Government in the petition, “the attempt by Manasseh Azure and Multimedia to portray the company as engaged in the perpetration of acts seen in the first 6 minutes and 20 seconds of the documentary, or similar thereto only exposes the mischief with which the documentary was laced and does little credit to the reputation of a media house that prides itself as independent and guided by the ethics of the media profession”.
Furthermore, Government pointed out in the petition that “we bring this complaint because the substance of the story complained of, is in various material essentials, utterly false, a product of gross misrepresentation of facts, wild speculation by the producer of the documentary specified above, and same betrays a desperate attempt on the part of Multimedia and Manasseh Awuni Azure to vilify the sincere effort by the President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to end the worrying phenomenon of political vigilantism in the country”.
It explained that the documentary “deliberately omitted to state the material fact that National Security Council Secretariat had closed down the purported office of the company since October 2018. Indeed, as of the date of publication of the documentary in March 2019, there was no activity of whatsoever nature by the company at the Castle. At the time of airing the documentary, multimedia played it to create the false impression to the public that such a false activity was ongoing at the premises of the Osu Castle. The mischief at the time of airing was to muddy the waters at the same time when the President was taking steps to sanitize the Political environment off all acts of “vigilantism”.
Government submitted six exhibits to the NMC in support of the petition.
The exhibits included: MOI 1, full Joynews documentary; MOI 2, Joynews Promo; MOI 3, BBC Story; MOI 4, Myjoyonline Story; MOI 5, Museum Statement; and MOI 6, TV 3 Interview.
Reliefs Being Sought
Government by the petition, is seeking three reliefs which Daily Guide understands are in accordance with section 15 of Act 449.
Among the reliefs, is a declaration to the effect that the impugned documentary by Mr. Azure and Joynews is misleading and constitutes a dishonest and deliberate misrepresentation of facts and calculated at causing undue public apprehension, alarm and panic.
Secondly, Government wants an order directed at Mr. Azure and Joynews, for the retraction of and apology to the state on the contents of the said documentary.
Finally, it wants any further disciplinary measure (s) as the NMC may seem meet to be taken.