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Opinions of Saturday, 26 December 2015

Columnist: Agyepong, Kwabena

Petition against joy fm and myjoyonline.com

Dated: 14th December 2015.

THE CHAIRMAN
NATIONAL MEDIA COMMISSION
P.O. BOX SD 114
ACCRA.

Dear Sir,

PETITION AGAINST JOY FM AND MYJOYONLINE.COM
We act as Lawyers for Mr. Kwabena Agyei Agyepong upon whose instructions we write to petition your august institution against the above mentioned media organisations own and operate by the Multimedia Group Limited of Kokomlemle Accra.

There has been consistent unethical and unprofessional reportage by Joy FM and Myjoyonline relating to issues concerning Mr. Kwabena Agyei Agyepong since he became the General Secretary of the New Patriotic Party. The unfortunate and a perfectly calculated ploy to dent Mr. Agyepong's image has seen significant escalation recently. Joy FM and myjoyonline have constantly resorted to putting out palpable lies and concocted stories about the events in the New Patriotic Party especially issues in connection to Mr. Agyepong.

Mr. Agyepong has personally and through his aides complained to the producers and reporters of the respective media outlets under the management of Multimedia Broadcasting Group Ltd about the numerous false stories concerning his person but all his complains have fallen on deaf ears.

The following are some of the instances which have occasioned this petition:

· On the 26th of May 2015, Myjoyonline without reference to the Office of the General Secretary of the NPP published a fake resignation letter attributed to Mr. Agyepong[1]. Despite repeated denials the media house has kept the false story on their website.

· Both Joy Fm and myjoyonline had earlier in the month unethically recorded and published a story arising out of an off-record conversation with Mr. Evans Mensah a reporter who had called Mr. Agyepong to arrange an interview. The story sought to portray Mr. Agyepong as an irresponsible, disrespectful and cheeky person. Both Joy Fm and Myjoyonline used extracts from this private conversation to create a story by quoting Mr. Agyepong as follows "Tell them, I am eating fufu in Kumasi. I don't know anything about this meeting"[2] in a story with the headline 'I had no knowledge of Steering Committee meeting – Kwabena Agyepong.


· On the 28th of October 2015, both Joy fm and Myjoyonline once again after an interview with Davis Opoku Ansah, aide to Mr. Agyepong deliberately and disingenuously crafted a story with the headline "Paul Afoko is still NPP national chairman – Kwabena Agyepong" quoting Mr. Agyepong and using his picture (see the attached story) which became the main grounds for the petition against Mr. Agyepong.



· On the 3rd of December 2015, a news article published on myjoyonline under the headline "Kwabena Agyapong faces possible suspension" stated among others that "the embattled General Secretary of the New Patriotic Party, Kwabena Agyepong had to recoil and apologize to the party's Disciplinary Committee following a petition for his suspension"[3]. No such thing happened when Mr. Agyepong appeared before the Disciplinary Committee as evidenced in the official report submitted to the National Executive Committee.

· Similarly, on 10th of December, 2015 under the heading "Hajia Fati 'sweeps away' Kwabena Agyepong, Sammy Crabbe after suspensions", Myjoyonline and Joy Fm blatantly peddled falsehood that.... "He [Kwabena Agyepong] resort to begging for mercy"[4] amongst other lies. This also never transpired during the encounter between Mr. Agyepong and the National Disciplinary Committee as evidenced by the report submitted to the National Executive Committee (See the attached copy).


· The following day Friday 11th December, 2015, myjoyonline published and circulated widely a purported transcript of Mr. Kwabena Agyepong's encounter with the National Disciplinary Committee following a number of petitions that have been submitted to the committee. This purported transcript of the minutes of the National Disciplinary Committee was significantly altered to portray Mr. Agyepong to the whole world as unprincipled and a fickle political leader. The official 49 page Memorandum dated 8th December, 2015 from the National Disciplinary Committee and delivered to the National Executive Committee under the subject; RE: DECISION AND RECOMMENDATIONS ON THE PETITION AGAINST MR. KWABENA AGYEPONG included the minutes and transcript of the proceedings of the committee. It is imperative to state that, portions of the publication by myjoyonline are completely different from the ORIGINAL report presented to all members present during the NEC meeting.

Regrettably, as stated earlier, myjoyonline has sustained their fabrication and falsity by putting out this fake document claiming to be the minutes of the meeting with the National Disciplinary Committee. The story on myjoyonline had the headline "Minutes: Disciplinary Committee encounter with Kwabena Agyepong" with a downloadable Portable Document File (PDF) claiming to be the minutes of the meeting[5]. The said PDF had the official insignia of myjoyonline on it and extensively broadcasted via other platforms. Not only is the procedure as captured in this fake document misleading, the transcript as contained in the document is equally deceptive and spurious; all geared towards tarnishing Mr. Agyepong's image.

For instance on the issue of Mr. Agyepong's alleged relationship with the National Democratic Congress citing his Wife's Scholarship and his Toyota Land Cruiser which was captured in the fictitious report on myjoyonline under the caption 'Suspected Compromise' and stated among others that "The General Secretary Kwabena Agyapong must come clean to purge himself from the allegation that he has been given a vehicle from the NDC/Mahama" did not appear in the original report to NEC as narrated by the media house.

The Toyota Land Cruiser
During Mr. Agyepong's encounter with the Disciplinary Committee, he made it unequivocally clear the price of the vehicle in question and went further to show receipts for all payments made so far to the committee. It is instructive to also state that the Committee's own report as submitted to all members of NEC stated that "in all fairness to the GS, he brought a receipt of part payment from Sterling Motors on the Land Cruiser he bought and is paying for by installments". The original National Disciplinary Committee report even stated the balance on his account with Sterling Motors since he bought the vehicle on hire purchase. Furthermore, the original National Disciplinary Committee report did not mention anywhere that Mr. Tommy Amematekpor a former Presidential Advisor to President Kufuor introduced Mr. Agyepong to Sterling Motors. We wonder what Joyonline and its affiliates seek to gain with such a vicious lie!


Mrs. Agyepong's Scholarship
It is imperative to state on record that the Committee found no evidence to substantiate the allegation that Mr. Agyepong's wife is on Ghana government scholarship which is part of a deal with President Mahama. For avoidance of doubt, the committee's report stated that "Mrs. Agyepong is NOT on Ghana Government Scholarship ....." meanwhile Myjoyonline continues to hold on to this malicious allegation in order to tarnish Mr. Agyepong's reputation. We wish to also state that Mr. Agyepong made it quite clear to the Committee that his wife started her studies in February 2012 on Ghana Institute of Journalism's scholarship, when Prof. Mills was the president and two clear years before Mr. Kwabena Agyepong was elected the General Secretary of the New Patriotic Party.

Audio Tape
We wish to state emphatically that the only audio tapes that were played are the off-record conversation with Mr. Evans Mensah a reporter of Joy Fm who unethically recorded the conversation and used same as the basis for the infamous Fufu story and the interview on Okay Fm with regards to that same story. For the avoidance of doubt, we wish to state that, there was no discussion on the flagbearer of NPP on these tapes and at no point did Mr. Agyepong admit to any derogatory or disparaging comment about the flagbearer to which Mr. Agyepong apologized for as the fictitious report published by Myjoyonline sought to portray.

Dismissal of Davis Opoku Ansah
Another fallacious point captured in the doctored transcript published by myjoyonline is the dismissal of the Executive Assistant to the General Secretary Davis Opoku Ansah which the report claimed Mr. Kwabena Agyepong stated during the hearing. For the records, the original Disciplinary Committee report as submitted to all NEC members did not state and never stated that the Executive Assistant to the General Secretary has been sacked.

Conclusion
Kwabena Agyei Agyepong having been Press Secretary to the President of the Republic of Ghana for more than six years worked with the media diligently and at all times respected and values his relationship with the Ghanaian media. It is surprising however that Multimedia Broadcasting Group Limited being one of the foremost private media organizations in the country will conspire with unknown persons to tarnish the image of Mr. Kwabena Agyei Agyepong. Base on this and other malicious allegations, Mr. Kwabena Agyei Agyepong has instructed us, his lawyers to petition your good office, the National Media Commission for appropriate sanctions against the media houses.


Thank you

Yours Faithfully,

PP: KORSAH & ASSOCIATES
.............signed..............
Lawyers for Kwabena Agyei Agyepong
Accra.


[1] http://myjoyonline.com/politics/2015/May-26th/kwabena-agyepong-resigns.php

[2] http://myjoyonline.com/politics/2015/May-4th/i-had-no-knowledge-of-steering-committee-meeting-kwabena-agyapong.php

[3] http://www.myjoyonline.com/politics/2015/December-3rd/kwabena-agyapong-apologises-to-npp-disciplinary-committee.php

[4] http://www.myjoyonline.com/politics/2015/december-10th/hajia-fati-sweeps-away-kwabena-agyepongsammy-crabbe-after-suspensions.php) myjoyonline.com

[5] http://www.myjoyonline.com/politics/201minutes-disciplinary-committee-encounter-with-kwabena-agyepong.php