Gets 7-Day Ultimatum From NMC
The National Media Commission (NMC), has issued a 7-day ultimatum to the Multimedia Group Limited, to respond to a complaint the Commission received from the Attorney
General and Minister of Justice, Marietta Brew Appiah–Oppong.
This comes in the wake of a recent petition file against the media organization by the Attorney-General, one over a false claim put out by the host of the Super Morning Show, Kojo Yankson, on January 13, 2016.
This is the second petition filed at the NMC against the station in weeks. The first was filed late last year by the suspended General Secretary of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Kwabena Agyei Agyepong, who accused the station and some of its reporters of lying about events leading to his suspension by the National Council of the party.
Although, it has been confirmed that the NMC received Mr. Agyepong’s petition, it is unclear whether the radio station, has been written to for responses to the ex-NPP General Secretary’s claims, including accusations of unprofessional reportage.
But in the A-G’s case, the ultimatum letter was addressed to the Chief Operating Officer, Multimedia Group Limited-Joy Studios, Ekyi Quarm on Friday January 22, 2016. It was signed by Deputy Executive Secretary, Alexander Bannerman.
This means the station and the Super Morning show host, Kojo Yankson, has up to the coming Friday, to respond to the A-G’s petition.
The three-paragraph letter intercepted by The Herald is captioned, “Compliant Against the Host of the Joy FM Super Morning Show, Mr. Kojo Yankson and the Multimedia Group Limited”.
It advised that “please note that the seven day period is a requirement as stated in the Legislative Instrument (LI 1587) of the settlement procedure”.
It stated “we would, therefore, be grateful if your response could reach the Secretariat within seven (7) days of the receipt of this letter to enable the Commission make a determination towards resolving the matter”.
The A-G is seeking an apology and the retraction of the said comments made by Mr. Yankson that she (the A-G) had said, she was not involved in the arrangements relating to the two Guantanamo detainees in Ghana, as published by Mr. Yankson and Multimedia.
According to Appiah–Oppon, “the statement broadcasted by Kojo Yankson and Multimedia Group Limited, has caused me considerable embarrassment.”
“I am, therefore, humbly requesting the National Media Commission to direct Kojo Yankson and the Multimedia Group Limited to apologise and retract the false statements they have made and give an undertaking not to repeat the words complained of,” the A-G said in a complaint filed with the NMC.
Event leading to the petition according to the A-G are that on Tuesday, January 12, 2016, after President John Dramani Mahama’s media interaction at the Flagstaff House, “a gentleman walked up to me and asked me about the specific law under which the Government of Ghana was keeping the two detainees of the US government from the Naval Station at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba”.
According to the A-G, her response was that he should “speak to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration on the matter”.
She said, the person neither introduced himself, nor did he indicate that he was an employee of Multimedia Group or state that he was conducting an interview, but subsequent events pointed to the fact that the gentleman in question was Mr. Yankson, the host of the Super Morning Show.
She said the following day during that morning’s edition of the Joy Super Morning Show, Mr. Yankson and Multimedia Group broadcasted and published words which were misleading and calculated to mislead the public.
Mrs. Brew Appiah-Oppong, said she was informed that Mr. Yankson had said on air, “I just want to share a piece of information from yesterday. Actually, I have been thinking about whether to share, but I think I should, because it wasn’t given to me in confidence.
I walked up to the Attorney-General and asked her this same question: Under what law can we stop these two individuals if they decide that at any point they want to live elsewhere and are leaving before the two years is up? “She told me that she was not involved in these arrangements and that if I wanted to know, I ought to speak to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that dealt with this matter.”
“She, the Attorney-General, the lawyer of government, was not involved in the arrangements. I mean I wasn’t speaking to her off record, so I feel absolutely fine sharing that the A-G of Ghana was not involved,” the A-G quoted Mr. Yankson as saying on the show.
Mrs. Appiah-Opong, said when her attention was drawn to the broadcast and publication by Mr. Yankson and the Multimedia Group, she quickly informed the Minister of Communications, Dr. Edward Omane Boamah, who was in the studio discussing the President’s interaction with the media by mobile phone, that she never told Mr Yankson that she was not involved in arrangements relating to the two Guantanamo detainees.
According to the A-G, when the message was communicated to Mr. Yankson, he responded by saying: “I have got to state that it is important from what you said that the Attorney-General apparently is denying having spoken to me and told me that she wasn’t involved in the decision.”
“I cannot and have not denied that Kojo Yankson spoke to me after the press conference. However, I never said to him that I was not involved in the arrangement relating to the two detainees, as broadcasted by him and Multimedia Group Limited,” the A-G said.
The A-G, accused the breakfast show host and Multimedia Group of broadcasting and publishing an untrue statement calculated to mislead the public and also broadcasting and publishing defamatory words resulting in the petition.