General News of Friday, 15 March 2019
Journalist and host of Good Evening Ghana on Metro TV, Paul Adom-Otchere, has described Joy News investigative exposé dubbed ‘militia in the heart of the nation’ as dastardly.
According to him, Joy FM as one of the leading media houses in the country in some aspect of the investigative exposé could have been more just and fair.
Commenting on some aspects of the documentary on Good Evening Ghana, Mr Adom-Otchere indicated that the advertisement leading to the airing of the documentary on both radio and TV was sensational.
He said the photograph that accompanied a story published on myjoyonline.com about the documentary was scary which made readers of myjoyonline.com worried about the content of the said investigative piece.
“This actually we think constitute wrong reporting because these photographs that were put up as the advert of the documentary did not actually do justice to the evidence that Joy FM has gathered in their documentary” he added.
Below are some of the concerns Paul Adom-Otchere raised on his show;
Eugene Arhin’s response to Manasseh
According to the investigative reporter, Manasseh Azure Awuni, when Joy News contacted Eugene Arhin, Director of Communications at the Presidency he said “The President has no knowledge of the alleged activities of this said group, let alone sanction their activities. My checks from National Security have revealed that no such group is operating from the Castle.”
This, Paul Adom-Otchere said is very disappointing of a media house like Joy FM to just give the response of the Director of Communications without telling its listeners or viewers the kind of question the posed to him.
“The Joy FM documentary does not tell us the question they put to Eugene Arhin. You always hear the BBC saying we first ask him this and he said that if they are not able to show the question. The documentary doesn’t say what question was asked of Eugene Arhin…..because if I call Eugene Arhin tomorrow and I said that there is a militia group operating and training at the Castle is the President aware, this will be his answer….in terms of the credibility of the documentary, we need to know what question was put to Eugene Arhin,” He explained.
Paul Adom-Otchere believes it is unfair for Joy FM and Manasseh Azure Awuni to give only the response of Eugene Arhin to the public because it leaves a whole gap for the credibility of the documentary.
No evidence about the claims
The documentary hinted that sources within the militia group, De-Eye Group provides security operations in and out of Accra but Paul Adom-Otchere believes the evidence of the group providing security services should have been given to the public.
“That’s bad…..I’m afraid that’s wrong because you are making attributions and you need to give evidence that suggests that you have done the work and you have the research, because giving your status Joy FM, as an important news leader, this is not the kind of work that you should do, this is not the outcome you should give and this is not the kind of evidence that should lead you to other outcomes” he said.
Why pick Lawyer Martin Kpebu to speak on the subject
Paul Adom-Otchere further questioned the choice of private legal practitioner, Martin Kpebu, to give a legal opinion about the activities of the militia group, De-Eye.
Picking a lawyer whose expertise is unknown out of the about 3, 000 – 4, 000 lawyers in Ghana and speaking about the operations of the militia group appears to be disingenuous.
He said Joy FM and Manasseh Azure Awuni in their documentary should have contacted the Office of the Attorney General for legal opinion rather than “pick a lawyer, sit down near a white wall, put two seats there, put a camera there and say Mr Lawyer, we have been doing a documentary on something we think it’s a militia, they don’t have a license, what is the position of the law on that?”
He added that this is not what Joy FM should be doing……”if you want to evidence it and make a statement out of it, where you go for this information is the office of the Attorney General; that is why she is called the Minister of Justice…..the Ministry of Justice and office of the Attorney General should be given that opinion.”
Dombo event at AICC
Paul Adom-Otchere in his scrutiny of Manasseh Azure Awuni’s documentary indicates that there is no evidence that shows that the people training at the Osu Castle were the same people at the Accra International Conference Center (AICC).
“A documentary that has outcomes that could be fatal including about people must be able to bring evidence that is can be incontrovertible in terms of your attributions that you make….you cannot make attributions and get away with it; that’s not why people fought for the 1992 constitution,” disappointed Paul Adom-Otchere bemoan.
The National Communication Authority member further indicated that the words of Choman the leader of De-Eye of which he linked to the President could have been avoided by a big media house like Joy FM because there is no evidence associated to that.
“All you say is that the guy said it so the President said it…..and that’s how you tag the President to a very serious sensitive matter like this that has implications for our foreign investments and image of the country?” he quizzed.
“If you want to show a documentary contradicting the President’s call to the fight of vigilantism, this evaporating evidence is what you tag the President with and conclude by saying that National Security is aware, this is dastardly, that’s bad journalism,” he stressed.