Joy News journalist, Manasseh Azure Awuni is unhappy with the National Media Commission‘s (NMC) ruling on his documentary dubbed: ‘Militia in the heart of the nation.’
According to him, the ruling was unfortunate and inappropriate.
While expressing worry, the journalist argued that although he provided the NMC with all facts regarding the documentary he cannot fathom why the commission rubbished his work.
“The report is very unfortunate because we presented the National Media Commission with facts yet it decided to pick only two issues and came up with what I consider as a very disturbing report that does not befit the status of the National Media Commission”, he said on Eyewitness News.
He insisted that, although he used a different photo in promoting the documentary, that single act alone cannot be used to discredit his work.
“…..and there is contention about the file photo. Granted that, this photo which was used for the online promotion was wrong and did not make it into the documentary itself, you cannot base on this photo and describe the entire documentary as not meeting journalistic standards”, he defended.
In March 2019, Joy News produced a documentary purporting that the State was complicit in the training of a supposed militia that used the former seat of government, the Osu Castle, as its training grounds.
But, after it was petitioned, the NMC said the documentary goes against GJA’s code of ethics although the focus on the group operating from the Castle was in the interest of the public.
The Commission among other things said the use of some photos and footage in the documentary were not properly related to the original focus of the story.
“In the end, the Commission found out that 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’s code of ethics, particularly guideline 23, which states that ‘a journalist ensures that photographs and multimedia content adequately reflect an event and do not highlight an incident out of context’,” the Commission stated in its report.
The piece came at the time when there was heightened concerns over political violence.
Political parties have been under the microscope after the violence that marred the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election.
The documentary sought to draw a link between a group operating at the Osu castle, De-Eye, and the threat of vigilante groups.
Following the premiering of the documentary, there was controversy over the substance of the video and whether or not the footage used in the piece was a true reflection of what was suggested in the narration.
The government subsequently condemned the documentary and described it as misleading.