The Attorney General (AG) and Minister for Justice, Marietta Brew Appiah-Opong, has officially filed a complaint with the National Media Commission (NMC) against Multimedia Group Limited, operators of Joy FM – an Accra-based radio station.
The AG is particularly on the heels of Joy FM’s ‘Super Morning Show’ host, Kojo Yankson, over a comment he purportedly made about the government’s legal advisor during the programme aired on January 12 on the suspected Al-Qaeda terrorists currently in the country.
It was in connection with the government’s controversial acceptance of suspected terrorists from Guantanamo Bay detention camp in Cuba. It has since generated public uproar.
The AG had initially requested Joy FM to furnish her with the audio tape recording of January 12 ‘Super Morning Show’ programme during which the host alleged that Mrs Appiah-Opong was apparently not involved in the arrangements regarding the bringing in of the detainees – whom the Foreign Affairs Minister, Hanna Tetteh, described as Al-Qaeda ‘foot-soldiers’ – to Ghana. The Interior Minister, Mark Woyongo, also denied having been part of the deliberations.
Ms Tetteh also claims that she was not privy to the entire discussions even though she was the lead advocate defending government position on the Gitmo duo.
The complaint, dated January 21, 2016 signed by the AG and sent to the Executive Secretary of the NMC, was copied to the Minister of Communications, Mr. Yankson, Multimedia Group Limited and the President of the Ghana Journalists’ Association (GJA) Affail Monney.
The AG averred that “Joy FM broadcast and published an untrue statement calculated to mislead the listening public, as well as broadcast and published defamatory words.”
She is seeking reliefs including “an apology and retraction on the Joy FM ‘Super Morning Show’ and the 18.00hrs news bulletin, and an undertaking not to broadcast or publish the words complained of.”
The AG’s statement is that on January 12, after a press conference by President Mahama 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, Cuba.
“My response to him was to speak to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration on the matter.”
According to the AG, Mr. Yankson did not introduce himself to her, did not indicate to her that he was an employee of Multimedia Group Limited and did not state that he was conducting an interview.
She said in the following edition of the Show, Mr. Yankson and Multimedia Group broadcast and published words which she said were false and calculated to mislead the public.
“The statement broadcast by Kojo Yankson and Multimedia Group Ltd has caused me considerable embarrassment. I am therefore humbly requesting the Media Commission to direct Kojo Yankson and the Multimedia Group Ltd to apologise and retract the false statements made by them and give an undertaking not to repeat the words complained of.”
By William Yaw Owusu