Samson Lardy Anyenini revealed, there is a “very formidable” 18-page response at the NMC and a 30-page response at the High court.
“It is not mere words on paper”, he said on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show Tuesday, explaining that “ without too much consideration”, the NMC will find that government’s petition is “clearly useless, utterly baseless.”
Samson Lardy Anyenini explained that Manasseh Azure in the JoyNews documentary reported “provable facts, verifiable facts.”
If the government disagreed with the media company’s interpretation of these facts, all it had to do was to put out its own interpretation of these which it had done.
“That is where the matter terminates,” the legal practitioner said, adding that government’s disagreement over the interpretation of the facts “is not a basis to waste anybody’s time at the NMC.”
He accused government of trying to resort to intimidation of the company and the journalist’s work. “As far as we are concerned, this is such a baseless thing to do,” he expressed disappointment.
The parties to the case have both raised objections to the panel to hear the case. These objections are expected to be ruled on at Wednesday’s hearing to pave way for the substantive case to be heard.
Ghana, a beacon of media pluralism and freedom has fallen behind on the World Press Freedom Index rankings for 2019.
Ranked first in Africa over four consecutive years, the country has now slipped to third in Africa following an increase in attacks on journalists. There have been 17 journalists have been attacked in the last 15months.
JoyNews on March 7, broadcast a documentary, showing an unlicensed security company and a militia group, De-Eye, conducting training at the Christianborg Castle, the former seat of government.
The government filed a formal complaint at the NMC on March 13, insisting JoyNews is seeking to unfairly damage government’s reputation as it attempts to clamp down on the activities of party militias.
The activities of militia groups under the Akufo-Addo administration have seen government officials attacked, public offices closed down and a by-election turned violent.
Despite government’s efforts to address the menace, the 22-minute documentary showed a pro-New Patriotic Party (NPP) militia group training within the facility housing no lesser persons than appointees of the president.
Aggrieved, the government issued a rejoinder in a four-page statement signed by Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah dismissing aspects of the documentary.
“It only puts together conjecture, malice, mischief, sensationalism and unvalidated suspicions” which contains “significant misrepresentations and misleading impressions,” the statement said.
But the statement was not without a JoyNews rebuttal.
The government has also escalated its grievance to the National Media Commission seeking a retraction and an apology while the militia group, ‘De Eye’ has also dragged the company and investigative journalist Manasseh Azure Awuni to court for defamation.
Lawyer for The Multimedia Group, and the investigative journalist, Samson Lardy Anyenini, has dispelled reports, his clients has been chickening out of the processes triggered by the complainants.