NMC directs Sefa Kayi to apologise to Amegashie; rules in favour of Starr FM's Edward Adeti

BY: Zadok Kwame Gyesi
Kwame Sefa Kayi (right) and Edward Adeti
Kwame Sefa Kayi (right) and Edward Adeti

The National Media Commission (NMC) has given rulings in three complaints brought against some media practitioners and media houses by some members of the public.

The complaints which the NMC adjudicated included a case brought against Peace FM’s morning programme - Kookrokoo - host, Mr. Kwame Sefa Kayi, Despite Media and Yaw Obeng Manu (Editor, Peace FM), by Mr. Justice Morkporkpor Yao Amegashie and Dr. Kofi Kodua Sarpong.

The third complaint was from BONABOTO against Upper East Starr FM reporter, Mr. Edward Adeti.

In the case of Kwame Sefa Kayi, the NMC’s Settlement Committee upheld the complaints by the complainant and directed Sefa Kayi to apologise to the complainant.

Similarly, in the case brought against Despite Media and Peace FM’s Editor Yaw Obeng Manu, NMC upheld the complainant’s demands and directed the defendant to apologise.

However, in the case of Edward Adeti, NMC said it did not find any wrong doing or unprofessionalism in the work of the Mr Adeti and therefore did not grant the demands of the complainant.

These was made known in a press statement dated, Thursday, June 17, 2021 signed and issued by the Deputy Executive Secretary of the NMC, Mr Alexander Bannerman. 

Below is a copy of the NMC's statement

FINDINGS AND RULINGS OF NMC SETTLEMENT COMMITTEE 

 The National Media Commission in exercise of the powers conferred on it under Article 167 (b) of the 1992 Constitution to ‘’take all appropriate measures to ensure the establishment and maintenance of the highest journalistic standards in the mass media, including the investigation, mediation and settlement of complaints made against or by the press or other mass media’’ has dealt with the following cases:

  1. Dometi Kofi Sokpor Esq. (Mr. Justice Morkporkpor Yao Amegashie) VS Mr. Kwame Sefa Kayi, PEACE FM
  2. Agyabeng Akrasi & Co (Dr. Kofi Kodua Sarpong) VS Despite Media and Yaw Obeng Manu (Editor, Peace Fm)
  3. BONABOTO VS Upper East Starr FM reporter, Mr. Edward Adeti

The Commission notes the unfortunate delays in resolving these complaints due to the COVID- 19 pandemic and the designation of the premises of the Commission as unsuitable for meetings under the Public Services Commission recommendation.

  1. Dometi Kofi Sokpor Esq. (Mr. Justice Morkporkpor Yao Amegashie) VS Mr. Kwame Sefa Kayi, PEACE FM

Dometi Kofi Sokpor Esq. in his complaint dated 27 September, 2019 wrote on behalf of his client, Mr. Justice Morkporkpor Yao Amegashie, the former Chief Executive of DVLA and claimed that Peace FM Host, Mr. Kwame Sefa Kayi on his Kokrooko radio show on November 11,2015 stated that, Mr. Amegashie was asked to proceed on leave in 2001 and after eight (8) years came back to DVLA in the same position as Chief Executive asking a question if the DVLA was the bonafide property of the complainant. The complainant refutes this assertion made by the Kokrooko morning host Mr. Kwame Sefa Kayi indicating that Mr. Amegashie attended an interview in 2005 at the Public Services Commission for the appointment as Chief Director which did not materialize but in 2009, he was requested to return to the DVLA. According to the complaint, these comment among others made by Mr. Kwame Sefa Kayi on Peace FM are unsavory and outrageous since civil servants do not appoint themselves to positions. The complainant added that these statements made on the Kokrooko radio show by Mr. Kwame Sefa Kayi were an attempt to attack the hard work, integrity, reputation, honesty and sincerity of Mr. Justice Morkporkpor Yao Amegashie.  

The Committee after deliberating on the complaint rules as follows:

  • The NMC upholds the request of retraction and apology giving the apology and retraction same prominence as the offending article on the Kokrooko programme and on the Peace FM website/ online.
  • Under Act 449 establishing the Commission, the Commission has the mandate to direct for retraction, apology and publication of rejoinders by Media House however, the Commission do not have the mandate to award damages. 

 

  1. Agyabeng Akrasi & Co (Dr. Kofi Kodua Sarpong) VS Despite Media and Yaw Obeng Manu (Editor, Peace Fm)

The Complainant, Dr. Kofi Kodua Sarpong through his Lawyer, George Amoah Esq. lodged a complaint on 21 October, 2019 to the Commission stating that PEACE FM deliberately refused to broadcast an apology concerning a defamatory statement which was published by the New Crusading Guide during their newspaper review segment. The complainant states that, The New Crusading Guide Newspaper had earlier published a defamatory publication against the complainant, Dr. Kofi Kodua Sarpong which was broadcasted by PEACE FM on 26/09/19 and deliberately omitted to broadcast a pursuant apology of The New Crusading Guide Newspaper to the complainant on 3/10/19.

The Committee therefore directs as follows:

  • That Peace FM complies with the relevant provisions in the NMC’s Guidelines on the Right to Rejoinder.
  • Peace FM should read the apology of the New Crusading Guide of October,3rd 2019 given it the same prominence as the offending broadcast.
  • Further the Commission directs Peace FM to render by broadcast an unqualified apology to Dr. K K Sarpong for their refusal to broadcast the named apology of the New Crusading Guide and publish same on their website. 

 

  1. BONABOTO VS Upper East Starr FM reporter, Mr. Edward Adeti

A Civil Society Organization, BONABOTO from the Upper East in a letter dated 20 May, 2020 filed a complaint against Upper East Starr FM Reporter, Mr. Edward Adeti requesting an investigation into his professional conduct as a journalist. The complaint states that Mr. Edward Adeti had published several false articles of malicious intent, bias, falsehood and unsubstantiated claims against BONABOTO.The complainants cited an example which according to them was falsehood in a misleading article captioned ‘’BONABOTO leader, Bolga-Poly lecturer in police cells for alleged Indian hemp possession’’. The complaint indicates that a desperate attempt is seen by Upper East Starr FM reporter, Mr. Edward Adeti to damage the leadership of BONABOTO and attack the image of the organization. The complaint further said that, at the time of publishing this article to, no BONABOTO leader was or is known to have been arrested by the Bolgatanga District Police for possessing Indian hemp or otherwise involved in such related crime.

The Group also questioned Mr Adeti’s qualification as a journalist and his nationality as well. 

In its ruling on the complaint the Committee stated as follows:

 

  • With regards to his practice as a journalist, one does not need certification to practice the profession in Ghana.
  • The Commission is not mandated to interfere with the day-to-day activities of any media house.
  • The Commission has established that Mr. Francis Atintono was once arrested and detained for narcotic activities.
  • They had looked through all the statements and did not find any merit in the Complaint directed against the journalist (Mr. Edward Adeti)
  • On the matter of CHRAJ and the missing vehicles, even if CHRAJ did the investigations on its own, the reaction from BONABOTO suggest that CHRAJ has an active interest in the matter which is duly reflected in what the journalist wrote.

The Commission ruled that it is unable to grant any of the request in the complaint by BONABOTO since the committee could not establish any unethical or unprofessional conduct against the journalist even if his language appeared to be strong.

On the matter of the two defamatory cases, it is clear that the due process of the law has been applied and NMC cannot review the decision of a court of competent jurisdiction. 

The NMC hopes to use this avenue to call on and direct the Ghanaian media including journalists to be cautious at all times with any information put across to the public by always giving the other party a fair hearing and complying with the GJA code of ethics, The Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association codes including the various NMC Guidelines. The NMC is grateful for these aggrieved complainants resorting the Commission’s processes to handle their cases and not to the court of law or other means and is always open to the public to help resolve their complaints against the media.

 Signed

ALEXANDER BANNERMAN

DEPUTY EXECUTIVE SECRETARY