The National Media Commission (NMC) has acknowledged receipt of a petition from the government for investigation into Joy News’ Manasseh Azure Awuni’s recent video documentary titled ‘Militia in the Heart of the Nation’.
Mr Alexander Bannerman, Deputy Executive Secretary at the NMC Secretariat who confirmed this to the Ghanaian Times said the commission would activate the laid down procedure for petition.
The procedure, he said involves request for response from Mr Awuni and his employer, the Multimedia Group Limited and if the complainants find the responses unsatisfactory a hearing would be held on the matter.
The government, in its petition, dated March 13, 2019 and signed by Minister of Information, Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, is among other things, seeking an order for the retraction of the content of the documentary and an apology.
“A declaration to the effect that the impugned documentary by Manasseh Awuni Azure and Joy News is misleading and constitutes a dishonest and deliberate misrepresentation of facts and calculated at causing undue public apprehension, alarm and panic,” portions of the petition said.
“Respectfully the government of Ghana brings this complaint pursuant to article 167( b) of the Constitution as well as Section 2 (1) (b) of the National Media Commission Act, 1993 (Act 449) and invites you to investigate the publication, the subject matter of this complaint,” the petition said.
The about 20-minute documentary pointed out that a group called “De-Eye group” was affiliated to the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) and had been training at Osu Castle, the former seat of government since 2017.
It also established that the President, Nana Akufo-Addo was aware of the existence and operation of the group whose ‘Commander’ is Nana Wireko Addo, also known as “Choman,” a former personal bodyguard of the President.
But the government said the documentary was misleading and a misinterpretation of issues, as the group was an employment agency while the President was not aware of its existence.
Although the Minister of Information, Mr Oppong Nkrumah, admitted that the group once had an office in the castle, it was closed down by National Security in October 2018.
Meanwhile the De-Eye Group Limited has sued Multimedia Group and Manasseh over the documentary, demanding GH¢10 million in damages for the “loss of reputation against the defendants.”
The company is also seeking an order “directed at the defendants to retract the said defamatory publications and render unqualified apology in the same prominence on Joy TV and four publications in the Daily Graphic.”
The De-Eye Group writ indicated that the company is not a “militia group” as suggested in the documentary.
By Times Reporter