JOYNEWS has expressed regret for the inconvenience caused President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo due to the broadcast of its recent documentary on vigilantism in the country.
JOYNEWS, a member of the Multimedia Group, appears to be attributing the accusation that President Akufo-Addo was promoting vigilantism to its listeners after it wrongly created that impression in its documentary titled, ‘Militia In The Heart Of The City,’ by Manasseh Azure Awuni, a reporter of the station in March.
Myjoyonline editor, in a commentary aired on the Joy FM’s Super Morning Show on Monday, April 15, said ”I think it’s appropriate at this juncture to talk about the misconstruction of the documentary which we put out, detailing some untoward activity happening at the Castle of some vigilante group engaged in some activity there, there were those who on the back of that documentary kind of thought that or created the impression that the President, whilst he was condemning vigilantism, was also nurturing this group at his own backyard.”
According to him, “Our documentary did not create any such impression, and I think it’s important to stress that point. All our documentary did was to report on what was happening… the only thing our documentary mentioned was that the person who was leading this group was a former bodyguard of the president when he was not president.”
He added that “He (Nana Akufo-Addo) was an ordinary citizen, a candidate of a political party. Our documentary actually pointed out that this person had been sacked so the unfortunate impression created that the president was nursing these guys while at the same time condemning this was not on the basis of our documentary, and it’s important to state that any such impressions or inconvenience caused the president is regretted.”
The documentary said that a company called De Eye Group, whose leader was a former bodyguard of the President, was training militias at the Christiansborg Castle, a former seat of government in Accra with the tacit support of the Akufo-Addo administration.
JoyNews linked the leader of the De Eye Group called Nana Wereko Addo, aka Choman, to President Akufo-Addo.
The documentary was aired at the time the Justice Emile Short Commission of Inquiry was probing the violence that characterised the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election at the Osu Christiansborg Castle in Accra.
De Eye Group has since sued JoyNews for defamation and the case is yet to be heard in court.
In the ensuing heat, the government, through the Minister for Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, condemned JoyNews’ documentary and said there was no militia training at the Castle which had placed the facility under the control of the Museums and Monuments Board.
The government insisted that De-Eye Group was involved in helping “unemployed young men and women find jobs.”
According to the government, JoyNews “only put together conjecture, malice, mischief, sensationalism and invalidated suspicions which contains “significant misrepresentations and misleading impressions.”
When the government urged JoyNews at the time to admit its ‘error,’ the station remained adamant, compelling the government to lodge a complaint with the National Media Commission (NMC) against the network.
Government subsequently ‘boycotted’ JoyNews’ programmes, and the media outlet has since been holding its political talk shows with virtually members of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), whose Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, claimed in a leaked tape that the party has JoyNews in its ‘pocket.’