The National Media Commission (NMC) has directed five newspapers to retract and apologize to Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party(NPP) for offensive publications against him.
The newspapers are Daily Post, Ghanaian Lens, The Enquirer, Informer and Al-Hajj.
A statement signed by Mr Kabral Amihere, NMC Chairman and copied to the Ghana News Agency on Friday said, on June 16, 2014, Nana Akufo-Addo filed a complaint with the Commission against publications in the Daily Post, Ghanaian Lens, The Enquirer, Informer and Al-Hajj newspapers.
According to the complainant, the newspapers in various publications between Monday, June 8, 2014 and June 14, 2014 wrote stories that were “offensive and derogatory.”
The statement said in the letter signed by Nana Akufo-Addo’s counsel, Mr Godfred Yeboah Dame, the complainant stated that the “substance of the stories complained of, are in all essentials utterly false, a product of the imagination of the publishers of the newspapers specified above” and sought as relief “severest sanctions to be visited on the newspapers in question in accordance of Act 449” which sets up the Commission.
It said the NMC invited the newspapers to respond to the complaint against them and invited them to several meetings for a possible adjudication and settle of the complaint against them.
It said the newspapers failed to respond to any of the invitations and offered no explanation for their failure; they also failed to offer any proof or justification for their stories.
The Commission ruled that the mentioned newspapers indeed published their allegations against the complainant without adducing verifiable evidence to justify their publication.
Then statement said the stories did not meet standards and principles outlined in the professional guidelines of the Commission and the Code of Ethics of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) which enjoined journalists to observe core journalistic values of truthfulness, fairness, accuracy and objectivity.
The NMC directed the media to be guided at all times by the Code of the GJA, code of Conduct of the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association and the various NMC Guidelines.”
Also, the Commission has settled the complaint brought before it by Mrs Gifty E. Kusi, the Member of Parliament for Tarkwa Nsuaem against Pure FM.
The statement said Mrs Kusi in her complaint dated November 13, 2014 claimed that Pure FM had carried a story stating that she had paid GH¢ 10.00 to delegates attending and voting at the NPP Presidential Primaries instead of the GH¢ 30.00 she had been given and kept the rest. Also that she had refused to give the said amount to the delegates from Simpa.
It said the complaint said the statement was untrue and that the newspaper made no effort to get her side of the story.
“Officers representing Pure FM at the settlement Committee agreed that they had not treated Mrs Kusi fairly and admitted the professional lapses in their story. They agreed to retract the story and apologize on air to the MP. The Complainant duly accepted their apology,” it said.