Information Minister Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah has urged media houses in the country to take a cue from the ruling of the National Media Commission to soberly reflect on the role of the media and the need for responsible journalism in the country.
According to Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah, much as media houses may be keen on beating competition with superior content, Journalists must remain ethical in the process and not sensationalize their work.
“We’re not interested in going to town and gloating over this. I think for us what has happened is an opportunity for sober reflection. Indeed it gives all of us an opportunity to sit back and reflect on the issues,” the Information Minister said on NewsFile on Saturday.
The National Media Commission last week disproved Multimedia Group’s attempt to label D-Eye Group, a company alleged to have operated from the premises of the Osu Castle at some point, as a militia.
The NMC in its ruling on the case between the Government of Ghana and the Multimedia Group clarified that D-Eye Group per the facts provided posed no security threat and had no characteristics of any known militia.
Multimedia claimed they relied on the word militia as used by respected legal luminary, Professor Henrietta Mensah-Bonsu, a member of the Commission that investigated the Ayawaso West Wuogon violence which occurred during the by-election after the death of the sitting MP, Emmanuel Kyeremateng Agyarko.
Despite conceding that it was inappropriate for the company to operate from the former seat of government and admitting that the expose was in the public’s interest, the NMC found that Multimedia Group failed to abide by the ethics of journalism with regards to their representation and description of the group.
The NMC stressed in its ruling that, “whereas it finds the presence in the Castle of D-Eye Group problematic and unacceptable, the group did not manifest any violent conduct to be described as a militia or a vigilante group from the documentary as people of Ghana have come to identify such groups.”
“The attempt to expose the fact that the group operated from the Castle was in the public interest. However, in the attempt, the investigation had not been consistent in following the ethical standards defined by the Ghana Journalists Association code of ethics, particularly, guideline 23…” excerpts of the ruling exclusive to ABC News noted.
On March 7 this year, a subsidiary of The Multimedia Group, JoyNews, aired a 22-minute long documentary titled, “Militia in the heart of the Nation” to ‘reveal’ government’s tolerance of a vigilante group training at and operating from the former seat of government.
Government disapproved of parts of the content of the documentary and took the matter to the National Media Commission for redress.
Among others, the NMC averred in the ruling that the inclusion of shots from the Ayawaso West Wuogon violence and attack on the Ashanti Regional Security Coordinator were at variance with the activities of the D-Eye Group as captured at the castle.