Radio France International apologises to Ex-Prez Rawlings over Gambia comment

Radio France International’s (RFI) Jean-Baptiste Placca has apologised to former president Jerry John Rawlings for comments he made on the station’s weekly programme.

On the said programme,  “La semaine de Jean-Baptiste Placca” on January 21, 2017, Placca alleged that Ghana’s former President, had called on the African Union to replicate the ECOWAS mission in the Gambia by removing Cameroun’s Paul Biya from office.

The office of former President Rawlings strongly denied the report in a statement issued on January 22, 2017. 

Describing the report as reckless, unethical, unprofessional and slanderous, the statement said the former President had granted no interview to the media on the Gambian crises.

Mr Rawlings warned that immediate legal action will be taken against media who fabricated stories about a man who is best known for his conflict resolution roles in the sub-region and beyond.

But in a letter dated January 24 this year and addressed to the former President, Jean-Baptiste Placca said:

“I humbly and respectfully address my apologies to you for wrongly putting your name in the weekly analysis chronicle on Radio France International. I did the big mistake to involve your name about what African Union should do in Cameroun for H.E. President Paul Biya, related to what was happening in Gambia.”

He further acknowledged President Rawlings’ role in the resolution of peaceful conflicts in Africa and pleaded with the former Ghanaian leader to accept his apology.

The RFI host also offered his apology, live on radio during his programme on Saturday January 28, indicating in all humility the former leader of Ghana did not make those remarks.

Placca confessed that he received the information late into the night and made the professional mistake of not verifying the authenticity of the information.

“The journalist does not always have the last word, and when he is mistaken, he has to recognize it, in all humility, and that’s what we’re doing here, that’s what I’m doing here,” he concluded.