Government boycotts the Multimedia Group after Manasseh’s expose?

The Akufo-Addo-led government is silently at war with broadcasting organization, the Multimedia Group; following it airing of a documentary piece by Manasseh Azuri Awuni, an investigative journalist.

The station has since last month struggled to get members of the government and the governing party New Patriotic Party (NPP) to appear on all of its flagship shows, especially those on Joy FM and Joy News channel, since the documentary was telecasted.

Interestingly, government has not communicated verbally why they have refused to show up for programmes on these particular channels, but The Herald has observed that it representatives have consistently refused to show up on the two stations for some time now.

Popular programmes such as News File, PM Express, The Pulse, hosted by lawyer Samson Lardi Anyinini, Evans Mensah and Gifty Andoh Appiah respectively, have all not seen government representatives for a while now.

What is interesting is that, in all the cases where the party and government, decided not to show up to defend policies and programmes, they hardly communicate to producers of these shows, why they were unable to attend. The hosts of these programmes, always make a point to tell listeners or viewers that the NPP and government reps didn’t show up, although invited.

“Indeed, about two weeks ago, the station promoted a clash of some sort between the National Organizers of the two main political parties, the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) Joshua Akamba and his counterpart, Sammi Awuku extensively on social media and other platforms.

However, few hours to the live show which was to continue the discussion on party militia disbandment, changes were made by the station announcing the inability of the former Youth Organizer of the NPP, to appear on the much publicized show without any reason.

On News File, arguably the most listened to news analysis show on Saturday, host Samson and his producers, have had to pair the NDC with members of civil society groups or the academia because of the same situation.

The host, on many occasions, has had the course to announce how they extended invitations to the government, but no one was chosen to be on the show.

In fact, last Saturday was no different as the panel had no NPP official even though the NDC’s General Secretary, Johnson Asiedu Nketia aka General Mosquito, joined the likes of IMANI-Africa’s Kofi Bentil, law lecturer at GIMPA Clara Kasser-Tee and veteran journalist, Kweku Baako Jnr, who is seen as the godfather of the show.

Here again, Samson before and after the show, indicated that, they invited the government to send a representative, but as has been the norm, were snubbed.

On the social media handle of one of Multimedia’s investigative journalist, Kwetey Nartey, had this to say when a follower inquired why there was no representative from the NPP? In a response on facebook, Kwetey said “Since we aired the militia in the heart of the nation, it appears there is a silent boycott”.

When the follower, Frank Kingsford Cudjoe, came back and asked “How do we know it is also not a silence from Multimedia against NPP as well?

Kwetey responded in the negative, saying “Ask the communication team whether the producers of the show have not reached out to them after the airing of the militia in the heart of the nation. A classical case was the withdrawal of Sammi Awuku from the panel for PM Express with Joshua Akamba hours to the show.

This is happening at a time, when the NPP, has taken the media organization to the National Media Commission (NMC) while the De Eye Group affiliated to the government, has dragged the same station to court for damages.

It is unclear, how long this silent treatment is going to last as government and Minister for Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, who doubles as the Member of Parliament (MP) Ofoase-Ayirebi, appears displeased and disappointed with his former employers.

Upon the airing of the documentary, government registered it displeasure, claiming the piece which caught both national and international attention, was misleading.

At a press briefing, Mr Oppong Nkrumah, said the documentary titled ‘Militia in the heart of the Nation’, carried a number of significant “misrepresentations”.

“Firstly, the promotion of the documentary, and the narrative of the documentary stated emphatically that a “militia” (a military force that is raised from the civil population to supplement a regular army in an emergency) has been uncovered training and operating at a “Security Zone”, with the complicity of the current administration, and identified them as belonging to the New Patriotic Party. Surprisingly, the 20-minute documentary does not show any evidence of such a militia or a vigilante group training or operating at a “Security Zone”.

The Minister also clarified that the Castle, Osu is not a “Security Zone” or “Annex of the Presidency” as erroneously claimed in the documentary and its promotion.

The documentary – Militia in the heart of the Nation – which aired on Joy News claimed that a pro-New Patriotic Party (NPP) militia group, De-Eye Group led by Nana Wireko Addo, has been training at the Christianborg Castle, Osu since the party won power in 2017.

It must, however, be indicated that the government representatives appear on other Multimedia platforms; such as Adom TV, Adom FM, Kasapa FM, Luv FM and others.