The National Media Commission has ruled against the Multimedia Group in the case between the Government of Ghana and the Multimedia Group involving a documentary filed by the group’s Manasseh Azure Awuni.
Joy News’ undercover investigation alleged that a pro-government ‘militia’, De-Eye have been training at the Osu Castle, a place Joy News referred to as a ‘Security Zone’.
The content of the documentary became subject of scrutiny by different individuals and groups in the country including the ruling NPP, the opposition NDC, Astute Lawyer Ace Ankomah, self-acclaimed security expert Irbard Ibrahim among others.
Secretary of the De Eye Group Tracey Asamoah, in an interview with Accra based Okay Fm said the group is grateful to Manasseh Azuri Awuni for the “hype” and “free publicity”, revealing that it will help them get more market for their services.
“This is too cheap for an undercover job. The Manasseh I knew from Krachi Secondary school, this is so cheap.” she said.
The National Organizer of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) Sammy Awuku, described the documentary as empty.
According to him, the over-hyped documentary did not contain any substance and message as advertised.
Mr. Awuku was surprised that a group described as a militia and started training 2 years ago have no record of acts of violence and disturbances but rather organizes press conferences to condemn and discouraged political motivated violence, a group that called on its colleagues to use dialog to address their grievances.
Respected Private legal practitioner Mr. Ace Annan Ankomah called on the government to arrest and prosecute the leader of the De-Eye, group.
Quoting copiously from the Criminal Offenses Act 29, the legal luminary said though the documentary does not seem to provide much information, the admission of the group that they have been providing some security services and are being trained by former military officers when they have not been licensed to do so is an act of criminality and must be prosecuted.
Minister for Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah also condemned the JoyNews documentary.
In a four-page statement Mr. Kojo Oppong Nkrumah said the documentary has “only puts together conjecture, malice, mischief, sensationalism and unvalidated suspicions” which contains “significant misrepresentations and misleading impressions.”
Report to NMC and Boycott
The government then reported the matter to the National Media Commission and Subsequently boycotted Joy Fm and Joynews TV flagship current affairs and news analysis program, the Newsfile.
But ruling on the matter, the commission found out that the documentary was a misleading piece and amounted to a misrepresentation of facts.
Also Read: Members of De-Eye Don’t pass for Even a School Cadet-Bryan Acheampong
After months of hearings, the Commission declared in its holdings that:
‘The investigation had not been consistent in following the ethical standards defined by the Ghana Journalists Association code of ethics, particularly guidelines 23 which states that a journalist ensures that photographs and multimedia content adequately reflect an event and do not highlight an incidence out of context.
Also Read: Prosecute Leaders of De-Eye: Ace Ankomah Tells Gov’t
This resulted from the fact that whereas the respondent used a photo from a BBC report on an attack on the Nigerian senate to promote the documentary online, they failed to relate it appropriately.
Again the inclusion of shots from the Ayawaso West Wuogon violence and attack on the Ashanti Regional Security Coordinator were at variance with the activities of the D-Eye Group as captured as the castle.
The commission concluded that there was no predisposition to violence in the documentary. Therefore, the association of the D-Eye Group with the Ayawaso West Wuogon Violence and the BBC story from Nigeria were sensational.
The holding further stated that:
The commentary on the documentary and the association with the Ayawaso West Violence was misleading and a misrepresentation and asked the Multimedia group to publish the full ruling of the commission since it had earlier published the rejoinder from the government.
Find excepts from the ruling below.