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Govt files complaint against Joy News' militia documentary at NMC

BY: Graphic Online
Minister of Information, Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah
Minister of Information, Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah

Government has filed a petition against Joy News' "militia documentary" at the National Media Commission (NMC), asking for an order for a retraction and an apology to government.

This is because government is insisting that the contents of the said documentary are "misleading."

The Minister of Information, Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah signed the complaint [copy attached below] on behalf of government

On March 7, 2019, the television station, Joy News aired a 22-minute documentary titled "Militia in the heart of the Nation," which was partly aired on radio on Joy FM, Adom FM and Asempa FM.

The documentary was prepared by Manasseh Awuni Azure, a journalist with the Multimedia group and the narrative was that a "militia" [De Eye Group] had been uncovered training and operating at the Christianborg Castle at Osu in Accra, which is a "security zone" with the complicity of the government as it belonged the political party in power, the New Patriotic Party (NPP).

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Complaint

In the complaint to the NMC, government is insisting that a careful examination of the contents of the documentary show that it is about matters which are totally unconnected to the "advertised subject matter of the documentary."

It said "...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... and same betrays a desperate attempt on the part of Multimedia...to vilify" President Akufo-Addo.

Reliefs

"In accordance with Section15 of Act 449, government is seeking a declaration to the effect that the impugned documentary by Manasseh Awuni Azure and Joynews is misleading and constitutes a dishonest and deliberate misrepresentation of facts and calculated at causing undue public apprehension, alarm and panic," it said.

"It is our sincerest hope that this complaint will be seriously investigated by the Commission in accordance with journalistic standards published by the Commission as well as the ethics of the media profession," it added.

In the petition dated March 13, 2019, the government stated: "We view the impugned documentary as part of the unbounded calumny by Manasseh Awuni Azure, Joynews and its affiliates aimed at distorting Government policy and work on serious matters of national concern like the fight against vigilantism."

"Much as the undeniable track record of the President shows a selfless dedication to the defence of press freedom and human rights, irresponsible and unethical journalism threaten the democracy and peace of the nation," it said.