We Published Rumours – Lens Editor
Editor of the Lens newspaper, Kobby Fiagbe, yesterday, Wednesday, September 7, 2005 on Accra-based FM radio station, Peace FM, acceded that his paper published unsubstantiated rumours in the matter involving Togolese President Faure Gnassingbe Eyadema and the daughter of President Kufuor, Nana Ama Kufuor.
The paper had published story in its August 26, 2005 issue under the headline "Blood to Seal Kufuor-Eyadema Pact," which said "the President of Togo, Faure Gnassingbe, son of the former President of Togo is widely believed to be expecting a child in the next few months with President Kufuor's daughter, Nana Ama Kufuor."
In reaction to that story, which was replicated in Ghana Palaver, another private newspaper, the Togolese Embassy in Ghana sent out a rejoinder to some media houses (full text on page two, to refute the assertion made in the two stories that Nana Ama Kufuor had been impregnated by the Togolese Leader who had made advanced arrangements to marry her.
It was in an attempt to elicit the response of the editor of the Lens newspaper on the veracity of the claim made by the paper and its subsequent rebuttal by the Togolese Ambassador to Ghana. H.E. Jean-Pierre Gbikpi-Bernissan, that the bomb shell was dropped yesterday on the afore mentioned radio station.
In admitting that the story published by the paper was based on rumours and unsubstantiated facts, Kobby Fiabge told host of "Kokrokoo" Morning Show, Kwame Sefa Kayi, "I would not want to go into semantics, you could say that as it was something we had heard." Asked why unsubstantiated facts were published, the Lens editor noted that it was because, try as they did to get a response from government that proved futile. He disclosed the anytime his paper called Mr Kwabena Agyepong, Press Secretary to the President, he declined to speak with them and would not even listen to what hey had to say, and rather state, "We don't speak to your paper."
When he was quizzed on why the Togolese Embassy was not contacted when they failed to elicit a response from government he confessed they had faulted in that, saying, "That is a shortcoming on our part." He however thought the Togolese Embassy had overacted in their rejoinder, by not tackling just the issue at stake but stating other things he saw an unnecessary.
Stressing that the Embassy had gone overboard, the editor took strong exception to that part of the Embassy's rejoinder which stated "We want to state here that the Togo President and the people of Togo will no more tolerate the vicious attacks rained on our former Head of State by section of the Ghanaian press and therefore advise all journalists who have made it their plan to do what they did in the past to stop."