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Opinions of Sunday, 16 June 2013

Columnist: Jackson, Margaret

Daily Graphic Salaams To NPP

And Sacrifices Its Reporter

By Margaret Jackson

June 13, 2013

Mr Yaw Boadu-Ayeboafoh and Mr Ransford Tetteh, General Manager of Newspapers at the Graphic Communications Group (GCGL) and Editor of the Daily Graphic respectively are back in the news. They have done it again without any shred of shame.

All it took was just one protest letter from the NPP which was written by Mr Akoto Ampaw, one of the petitioner’s lawyers and also a member of the National Media Commission (NMC) to whip the Daily Graphic to salaam to the NPP.

The Daily Graphic, which today is loaded with heavy doses of NPP sympathisers who stretch from Yaw Boadu-Ayeboafoh to Ransford Tetteh, Kobby Asmah and Kofi Akordor among others, sacrificed their reporter Mabel Aku Banasseh by pulling her off the beat, when the NPP raised a protest against the contents of her reportage on the on-going Supreme Court challenge to the 2012 Presidential Election.

Obviously the NPP is not happy that in spite of the party having a total control of the GCGL with Dr Doris Dartey, a heavy-dosed NPP ally as the board chair and others like Professor Kwame Karikari also in the midst, the reportage on the court proceedings in the Daily Graphic is not being tilted in favour of the NPP.

Therefore, to appease their NPP paymasters the Daily Graphic under the caprices of Yaw Boadu-Ayeboafoh and Ransford Tetteh ditched Mabel Banasseh and quickly replaced her with Stephen Sah who has since been reporting the proceedings from the Supreme Court.

What does not make sense to most people is that the Daily Graphic without shame published the protest letter from Akoto Ampaw in its entirety in its Opinion page other than the letter’s column. And to throw dust into the eyes of Ghanaians, the Daily Graphic published a response from its Editor who tried vainly to explain the Editorial policy of the paper on that same page.

But amazingly, after Ransford Tetteh has stated categorically in his reply to Akoto Ampaw in these words, “Nonetheless, it does not rest with any authority in this country to direct us or take our editorial judgement and independence from us as the rejoinder from the lawyers of the petitioners sought to do”, Ransford Tetteh and Boadu-Ayeboafoh made a 360 degree turn and pushed Mabel Banasseh out of the courtroom to make the NPP happy.

Mr Akoto Ampaw who abused his membership to the NMC by writing officially to the Daily Graphic made a litany of accusations from Mabel Banasseh’s reportage of the court proceedings on Wednesday June 5, and Thursday June 6 which was reported in the Daily Graphic on June 6 and 7.

Akoto Ampaw who perhaps does not know what an editorial policy is or how reporters determine the news angles, yet he has been a member of the NMC for so many years, tried to point out what Mabel Banasseh should have reported to favour the NPP.

Hear Akoto Ampaw in his words, “Your reporter once more failed to report that when court resumed, Dr Afari Gyan admitted that out of the 51 names the petitioners claim had been duplicated, all but two, who were twins, had in fact been duplicated and that these went into the final register with which the 2012 general elections were conducted”.

Another blatant bulldozing act by Akoto Ampaw is captured in his own words, “An even more significant admission by Dr Afari Gyan on that day during cross-examination by Mr Philip Addison was that he had not seen a single pink sheet before he declared the results of the 2012 presidential election. This was after persistent attempts by the witness not to answer the question. Amazingly, your reporter refused, for reasons best known to herself, to carry this admission in her report".

This is how far the NPP want to take the fight to: even daring to tell reporters what they should report and the angles they should take in the on-going SC petition case. Otherwise how on earth can Akoto Ampaw, a member of the NMC who doubles as a counsel for Nana Akufo-Addo, have the guts to tell a state-owned newspaper like the Daily Graphic what he considers as news and how the paper’s reporters have to do their work?

By yanking Mabel Banasseh from the beat at the SC, the Daily Graphic has once again demonstrated to the whole world that it is still indeed in the deep pockets of the NPP. Ransford Tetteh and Boadu-Ayeboafoh may be smiling because they have pleased their paymasters by pulling Mabel Banasseh from the SC, but they should know that in this world no condition has ever been permanent.

Whatever has gone up eventually finds its way downstream. The deep-seated hatred that Yaw Boadu-Ayeboafoh and his gang have developed towards the NDC is nothing new. As I write, Kobby Asmah, the Political Editor of the Daily Graphic features the NPP at his pages more than any other political party. Therefore, anytime I hear the Daily Graphic talking about fairness, I throw up.

It is time members of the newsroom at the Daily Graphic kick against this politicization of the Daily Graphic by the NPP gang. Today, it’s Mabel Banasseh whose nose has been poked by Ransford Tetteh and Yaw Boadu-Ayeboafoh. Who is going to be next, only God knows. But one thing that members of the newsroom have to know is that it is their collective excellent work that gives the Daily Graphic the credibility and name recognition. It is not that of Yaw Boadu-Ayeboafoh and Ransford Tetteh.