NMC indicts journalist; Newspaper for unprofessional conduct

Accra, Oct. 22, GNA –
The National Media Commission (NMC) has ordered Mr. Justice Kweku Annan, a
broadcast journalist, to desist from attacking Mr. Anas Aremeyaw Anas of Tiger
Eye PI, and admonished him to ensure that his programmes meet the required standards.

It also asked the
Herald Newspaper to retract an offending article against the University of Cape
Coast (UCC) and apologise to the University in three editions of its
publications, giving it the same prominence as the offending story.

A statement issued by
the NMC, and copied and copied to the Ghana News Agency, in Accra, on Monday,
said the decisions were made by its Complaints Settlement Committee after
hearing the different cases of ethical breaches brought against them. 

The statement, signed
by the Chairman of the Commission, Nana Kwasi Gyan-Apenteng, said both the
journalist and the Newspaper were found to have acted unprofessionally.

The Committee,
however, exonerated Hot Fm; and also commended the National Tribune for taking
immediate steps to retract some stories the UCC deemed inaccurate.  

Tiger Eye PI filed the
complaint against Mr. Justice Kweku Annan, while the University of Cape Coast
(UCC) filed the one against the Herald Newspaper.

The following a full
report of the NMC statement:

“The National Media
Commission has determined the cases brought by Tiger Eye PI against Mr. Justice
Kweku Annan and Hot FM and the University of Cape Coast against the National
Tribute and the Herald Newspapers.

The Complaints
Settlement Committee of the Commission determined the following on the
aforementioned complaints:

1. Tiger Eye PI VRS
Justice Kweku Annan & Hot FM

Tiger Eye PI in the
complaint against Mr. Justice Kweku Annan and Hot FM stated that the activities
of Mr. Annan on his programme “Ghana Must Know” aired on Hot FM falls short of
acceptable journalism practice and standards. According to Tiger Eye PI
comments, Mr. Annan consistently made false and derogatory comments on the
programme over the period immediately following the airing of a documentary
Tiger Eye PI had produced on corruption in Ghana football.   The comments were solely focused on Tiger
Eye PI, Mr. Anas Aremeyaw Anas and Abdul Malik Kweku Baako Jnr. purposely to
degenerate and tarnish the image of the two.

In June 2018, Tiger
Eye PI published the findings from a 2-year sting operation into corruption in
Ghana Football, dubbed “Number 12”. Before and after the said publication by
Tiger Eye PI, Mr. Justice Kweku Annan, host of the show on Hot FM, Ghana Must
Know, made comments on his show that sought to destroy the credibility of Tiger
Eye PI, Mr. Anas Aremeyaw Anas and Mr.Kweku Baako.

The Tiger Eye PI
carried out its own undercover investigation into Mr. Annan’s continuous attack
on them (Tiger Eye PI, Anas Aremeyaw Anas and Kweku Baako), during which Mr.
Annan revealed that he was involved in a project purposely to unmask Mr. Anas
Aremeyaw Anas and to destroy his credibility and that of Mr.Kweku Baako. To
that effect, he requested an amount of GHC35, 000 as an initial deposit to conduct
his undercover investigation into Anas’ activities. Tiger Eye PI paid Mr. Annan
GHC5, 000.

Responding through
their lawyer, Sean Kojo Poku Esq, the respondents indicated that Mr. Annan was
preparing a documentary on the methods used by Anas and the Tiger Eye PI in
their investigation, which fell below the standards of journalism. They further
stated that the documentary came with a huge cost, and invited the “unknown
persons” (Tiger Eye PI) who approached him (Mr. Annan) for assistance in his
quest to unmask Anas if they were interested. He, therefore, maintained that
the GHC5, 000 paid to Tiger Eye PI was not a bribe or inducement but merely a
contribution to the production of the documentary.

Mr. Annan during the
sittings of the Committee, as well as through his lawyers, insisted that Mr.
Anas Aremeyaw Anas be made to remove the mask he wears during hearings to
enable his identity to be verified. However, the Committee was of the view that
other established organisations such as the Courts had previously granted Anas
the dispensation to appear before them wearing a mask. Importantly also the
Committee pointed out that since its proceedings did not necessarily require
that complainants or respondents appear before it in person (they could choose
to be represented by lawyers), it was immaterial whether or not Anas, or indeed
Justice Annan were identified during the hearings. There was thus no need to
identify the person behind the mask purporting to be Anas before the merits of
the case could be heard and decided.

At the last sitting of
the Committee, Mr. Annan asked to be excused from proceedings of the Committee
after his request to have Anas unmasked was overruled by the Committee.

The Committee
determined that there was no evidence to suggest that the station, Hot FM, of
which Mr. Annan is a presenter, was complicit in the said activities of Mr.
Kweku Annan.

The Committee
determined further in taking money with the purpose of tarnishing Anas’
reputation, Mr. Annan abused his professional privileges as a journalist, and
noted that his activities and behavior fall short of the ethical standards.

The Committee ordered
Mr. Kweku Annan to desist from further attacks on Anas, and admonished him to
ensure that his programmes meet the required standards.

2. The University of
Cape Coast VRS the National Tribute Newspaper

The University of Cape
Coast lodged a complaint against the National Tribute Newspaper that had
published a series of articles between May and June 2018, in which the
newspaper had made a number of allegations against the University, its Vice
Chancellor and other officials of the University.

The said publications
were published and titled as follows:

          Thursday May 31, 2018: Rots at UCC
Uncovered

          Thursday June 12, 2018: Mysterious
Attacks at UCC

          Thursday June 21, 2018: UCC VC, Others
Hot

The allegations
levelled against the University are as follows:

* The first allegation
captioned, “Rots at UCC Uncovered”.

* The second
publication alleged that an optometry student had been murdered.

* The third
publication claimed that UCC had made dubious deals and that the BNI was
conducting investigations into the University.

The University stated
in the complaint that the allegations were false, actuated by malice and sought
to unfairly bring the University and her principal officers into disrepute. The
Editor at the first meeting of the Complaints Settlement Committee agreed to
dialogue with the representatives of the University on the publications and to publish
their version (possibly a rejoinder) from the University.

The National Tribute
Newspaper in its Thursday, August 30, 2018 edition published a retraction with
a teaser on its front page and carried in full on page 4 of the publication
apologizing to the University in respect of the offending publications as
follows:

“This has become
necessary because the management and editors of the paper have realized that
some of the issues raised in the said publications against the aforementioned
persons were not entirely accurate and factual.

Having gotten these
facts and with the settlement process initiated by the National Media
Commission, we honorably retract the stories, their content and render sincere
apology to the school and its management.

Management of the
paper wish to assure Management of the University that the paper has no
ill-feeling towards the school or any person in management position of the
school and hope this retraction and apology will settle the matter and
establish a healthy friendship between the school and the National Tribute.”

The NMC commends the
National Tribute Newspaper for its cooperation in complying with the
constitutional provision mandating rejoinders and for accepting to retract and
apologise to the Vice Chancellor and other members of Management of the
University who were mentioned in the publication.

3. The University of
Cape Coast VRS the Herald Newspaper

The University of Cape
Coast (UCC) filed a complaint with the Commission against the Herald Newspaper
over its publication carried in the 11 June, 2018 edition of the paper, titled
UCC Vice Chancellor Accused of Nepotism, …Offers Friend Top University Job.

In the said
publication, the Herald newspaper claimed that the VC, Prof. Ghartey Ampiah,
had used his position to influence the interview and selection process in the
appointment of Mr. Philip Ntim Owusu as the University’s Director of Physical
Development and Estate Management. The publication further alleged that the
Director was not qualified for the position, and his interview process was
fraught with irregularities.

The Herald’s Newspaper
publication also stated that the contractors working with the University were
having a frosty relationship with the new Director because he had accused them
of taking bribes to secure their contracts, which had led to delays in payment.

The University stated
that the publication was a fabrication that sought to bring the University into
disrepute.

The Herald Newspaper,
responding through their lawyers, Nii Odoi Annan & Co, indicated that they
found the complaint by the UCC to be frivolous, superfluous, tiresome and
devoid of any merit. They further indicated that they stood by their
publication as they had followed all necessary tenets of journalism in
producing the said article. They challenged the University to produce records
concerning all the allegations made in the story before they (Herald Newspaper)
will come out to offer their final reply.

Consequently, the
Herald Newspaper and its representatives refused to attend the hearing of the
Complaints Settlement Committee.

Nonetheless, the
Committee proceeded to adjudicate the case based on Article (3) of L.I 1587,
which states that:

“The Settlement
Committee shall not proceed with an investigation under this regulation in the
absence of the person against whom the complaint has been made unless it is
satisfied that notice served for that purpose has been received by him.”

The Complaints
Settlement Committee proceeded with the evidence before it and determined as
follows:

1. The paper could not
defend its publication by refusing to appear before the Complaints Settlement
Committee of the Commission.

2. The Herald
Newspaper should retract and apologise to the University in three editions of
its publications giving it the same prominence as the offending article.

3. The paper should
not repeat the offending articles.”

GNA

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