The National Media Commission (NMC) has brought out it’s ruling on a case brought before it by investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas against Hot FM journalist Justice Kweku Annan.
Anas dragged the Hot FM host to the NMC in July, accusing him of consistency making false and derogatory comments against him (Anas) on his show “Ghana Must Know”.
This was after Anas premiered his “Number 12” exposé which implicated over 77 referees and football officials for accepting “cash gifts” to compromise the game.
However, following constant criticism from Kweku Annan, Annan went ahead to conduct another exposé into the Hot FM journalist’s motivation for maligning him.
Posed as persons who are in tune with his agenda, undercover journalists met up with Kweku Annan and captured him on video demanding GHc35,000 to help design a radio programme dedicated to maligning Anas and his team.
Anas subsequently petitioned the National Media Commission (NMC) to investigate Hot FM and their journalist for using their platform to try to downplay his credibility.
After months of waiting, the NMC has finally come on with its ruling on the matter. The Commission exonerated Hot FM from blame, but found Kweku Annan culpable of trying to malign Anas’ credibility.
“The Committee determined that there was no evidence to suggest that the station, Hot FM, of which Mr. Annan is a presenter, was complicit in the said activities of Mr. Kweku Annan,” the NMC said in a statement.
It added: “The Committee determined further in taking money with the purpose of tarnishing Anas’ reputation, Mr. Annan abused his professional privileges as a journalist, and noted that his activities and behavior fall short of the ethical standards.
“The Committee ordered Mr. Kweku Annan to desist from further attacks on Anas, and admonished him to ensure that his programmes meet the required standards.”
Read the NMC’s full statement below:
DECISION OF NMC COMPLAINTS SETTLEMENT COMMITTEE
The National Media Commission has determined the cases brought by Tiger Eye PI against Mr Justice Kweku Annan and Hot FM. The Complaints Settlement Committee of the Commission determined the following on the aforementioned complaint:
1. Tiger Eye PI VRS Justice Kweku Annan & Hot FM
Tiger Eye PI in the complaint against Mr Justice Kweku Annan and Hot FM stated that the activities of Mr Annan on his programme “Ghana Must Know” aired on Hot FM falls short of acceptable journalism practice and standards. According to Tiger Eye PI comments, Mr. Annan consistently made false and derogatory comments on the programme over the period immediately following the airing of a documentary Tiger Eye PI had produced on corruption in Ghana football. The comments were solely focused on Tiger Eye PI, Mr. Anas Aremeyaw Anas and Abdul Malik Kweku Baako Jnr. purposely to degenerate and tarnish the image of the two.
In June 2018, Tiger Eye PI published the findings from a 2-year sting operation into corruption in Ghana Football, dubbed “Number 12”. Before and after the said publication by Tiger Eye PI, Mr. Justice Kweku Annan, host of the show on Hot FM, Ghana Must Know, made comments on his show that sought to destroy the credibility of Tiger Eye PI, Mr. Anas Aremeyaw Anas and Mr. Kweku Baako.
The Tiger Eye PI carried out its own undercover investigation into Mr. Annan’s continuous attack on them (Tiger Eye PI, Anas Aremeyaw Anas and Kweku Baako), during which Mr Annan revealed that he was involved in a project purposely to unmask Mr Anas Aremeyaw Anas and to destroy his credibility and that of Mr Kweku Baako. To that effect, he requested an amount of GHC35, 000 as an initial deposit to conduct his undercover investigation into Anas’ activities. Tiger Eye PI paid Mr. Annan GHC5, 000.
Responding through their lawyer, Sean Kojo Poku Esq, the respondents indicated that Mr. Annan was preparing a documentary on the methods used by Anas and the Tiger Eye PI in their investigation, which fell below the standards of journalism. They further stated that the documentary came with a huge cost, and invited the “unknown persons” (Tiger Eye PI) who approached him (Mr. Annan) for assistance in his quest to unmask Anas if they were interested. He therefore maintained that the GHC5, 000 paid to Tiger Eye PI was not a bribe or inducement but merely a contribution to the production of the documentary.
Mr. Annan during the sittings of the Committee, as well as through his lawyers, insisted that Mr. Anas Aremeyaw Anas be made to remove the mask he wears during hearings to enable his identity to be verified. However, the Committee was of the view that other established organizations such as the Courts had previously granted Anas the dispensation to appear before them wearing a mask. Importantly also the Committee pointed out that since its proceedings did not necessarily require that complainants or respondents appear before it in person (they could choose to be represented by lawyers), it was immaterial whether or not Anas, or indeed Justice Annan were identified during the hearings. There was thus no need to identify the person behind the mask purporting to be Anas before the merits of the case could be heard and decided.
At the last sitting of the Committee, Mr. Annan asked to be excused from proceedings of the Committee after his request to have Anas unmasked was overruled by the Committee.
The Committee determined that there was no evidence to suggest that the station, Hot FM, of which Mr. Annan is a presenter, was complicit in the said activities of Mr. Kweku Annan.
The Committee determined further in taking money with the purpose of tarnishing Anas’ reputation, Mr. Annan abused his professional privileges as a journalist, and noted that his activities and behavior fall short of the ethical standards.
The Committee ordered Mr. Kweku Annan to desist from further attacks on Anas, and admonished him to ensure that his programmes meet the required standards.