Multimedia Group Ltd, the owners of Joy FM and Adom FM has responded to accusations leveled against it over the controversial mass rape story. The company rejects the notion that it erred in publishing the story, saying it followed the ethics spelt out in the Ghana Journalist Association code of ethics.
See full details of the statement below:
RE: COMPLAINT AGAINST ADOM FM AND JOY FM OVER FALSE NEWS REPORT OF ARMED ATTACK AND MASS RAPE OF PASSENGERS ON TAMALE-BOUND PASSENGER BUS.
On 1st November 2010, the Ministry of Information, in a complaint to the National Media Commission, and signed by the Minister of Information, John Tia Akologu, accused Adom FM and Joy FM of broadcasting false and fabricated reports on the subject of the alleged armed attack and mass rape of passengers on a Tamale-bound passenger bus. The said complaint has also been widely circulated to the media.
In the statement, the Ministry, among other things accused the two stations of a ‘lack of basic ethics of the journalistic profession’ because they had put the story on radio ‘without the requisite background checks’ … and that the story was ‘nothing but a fabrication’.
The management of ADOM FM and JOY FM would like to assure the good people of Ghana and the Minister of Information that nothing can be further from the truth.
It has always been our policy to provide news and information which is relevant and of interest to the public and which is based on balance, fairness, openness and strait dealing!
As has been the hallmark of our news organization through the years, the stations upon receiving the report of the alleged highway robbery and mass rape did all the required checks and on the balance of the available information and our professional view of the public’s legitimate need to know, proceeded to go ahead with the story.
We wish to state the following facts regarding the story:
” That on Tuesday 26th of October 2010 a man who identified himself as Cephas made a complaint to Adom FM about an alleged highway attack on a bus on which his friend, by name Amina Mohammed had travelled. To check the veracity of Cephas’ claim, he (Cephas) was invited to the station with the said Amina the next day.
” The lady, Amina Mohammed (resident at Ashaiman – Middle East) narrated the story about what she said was an armed attack on a bus on which she was travelling between Accra and Tamale on 12th of October 2010, around 2am.
” Amina claimed that the incident occurred at a spot near Kubeasi near Ejisu on the Accra-Kumasi highway; and that she and other travellers on a Yutong Bus from Accra to Tamale in the Northern Region on Wednesday the 11th of October were attacked by a group of armed robbers and that a formal complaint was lodged with the police at Ejisu.
” Amina was first interviewed on Adom FM’s Work and Happiness show during which she narrated her story in which she also alleged that male passengers were forced to have sex with the females at gun point.
” Contrary to the Minister’s assertions we would like to state that before Amina was interviewed on Adom FM and later on Joy FM, the following background checks were done:
1. We demanded she showed proof of her having been on the said bus on the said date and on the trip.
2. She produced a ticket to confirm the above and subsequently indicated her mother was also on the bus.
3. That the mother was contacted and she also produced a ticket showing she was on that bus.
4. She (the mother) confirmed Amina’s story to Adom fm.
5. Though the Police in Ejisu, Brong Ahafo and the Police PR in Tamale were contacted they all denied knowledge of any attack at all.
6. Later, however, the Ejisu Police Commander, ASP Stephen Awuah, confirmed that a complaint had been lodged at his station about armed robbers attacking a passenger bus, but could not confirm the alleged mass rape. He told reporters his outfit had heard about the rape aspect and was to commence investigations.
7. The said complaint was also confirmed by the Ejisu Police Station Diary of October 12th 2010, entered at 2:20 am by the driver named in the diary as Samuel Aseidu.
” That a number of persons later called to Adom FM to tell what they knew about the attack on the bus. They included one Mohammed who told reporters his brother, by name Issah, had been a passenger on the bus.
” That Issah was contacted and he confirmed being on the said bus when it was attacked. He also confirmed the forced rape. Another woman who (wants to remain anonymous for the reason of protecting her marriage) spoke to Adom FM, confirming the story and even suggested she was afraid she might become pregnant as a result of the incident.
” A chief at Kintampo also called to say he was informed some residents of the town that a group of travellers on a bus of similar description had pulled up in Kintampo to allow passengers to fetch water to wash themselves.
” In addition to all these, a reporter of Adom FM interviewed an official of Price Line Consult Limited, the transport operator whose official’s phone number was on the ticket we received from Amina. He confirmed that the bus was attacked but declined to give details.
From the above, it should be quite clear:
• That the two stations did not fabricate the story as claimed
by government in the complaint.
• That from the very beginning, we conducted checks, including checking with the police, and were satisfied that the lady, Amina, was indeed involved in such an incident.
• That throughout, checks were also done with the police.
• That the story of the armed attack was carried after confirmation by the police at Ejisu.
• That though the Police Commander at Ejisu told reporters he could not confirm the allegation of mass rape, he told reporters that of the mass rape had come to his attention that he would initiate investigations in that aspect.
• That to ensure balance and fairness counter-claims and responses from all quarters were given a chance to be heard, including denials by some passengers, the driver, the police and an official from the office of the President, even to the extent of extending the duration of Dwaso Nsem on Adom FM to allow the police sufficient airtime to comment.
Given the above (and especially that there is an entry in the Ejisu Police station Diary confirming that a complaint was lodged on the incident on the night of 11th to 12th October 2010) we find it difficult to understand the basis of the Ministry’s complaint and the demand that the two stations, Adom FM and Joy FM, should ‘retract the stories and apologise to the Government, our hardworking Security Agencies and the good people of Ghana’.
It is interesting that even before speaking to the lady or checking with us, the police concluded that the story was a hoax, fabricated by the two stations. The police have now arrested and charged Amina, who was said to be a phantom, on the basis of the say-so of supposed passengers on the bus whose contacts were obtained from the manifest of the bus.
We trust that when the National Media Commission has examined all the facts, it will come out with a decision that will be in the interest of all Ghanaians and that the good people of Ghana will be better placed to make their own judgement on this matter.
Signed: Chief Operating Officers Joy FM, Adom FM