Veteran Journalist and Host of Good Evening Ghana on Metro TV, Paul Adom Otchere, has carefully analyzed and punched gaping holes into the video documentary by Joy News’ Manasseh Azure Awuni, titled ‘Militia in the Heart of the nation’.
The outspoken journalist and a PR practitioner, sharing his views on the Good Evening Ghana Editorial segment of his show, did not mince words when he described the documentary as “sensational, disingenuous and bad journalism”.
The documentary, which captures a group of young men and women said to be members of a private security firm or militia group known as De-Eye Group during a meeting at the Christiansburg Castle at Osu, the former seat of government, has generated heated public debate about whether or not the producer did a good job.
Manasseh Azure Awuni among other things emphatically stated that the supposed militia group, which had two offices at the Castle, was affiliated to the NPP, and that, although it wasn’t a registered private security firm as his checks had revealed, attempts by the National Security to evict them in the past were unsuccessful.
Manasseh thus stated that the group had the support of a higher hand in government for which reason they could have access to the Castle which houses some ministries, and it’s treated as a security zone.
With the Commander of De-Eye group identified as Nana Wereko-Addo (Alias ‘Chooman’), a former personal bodyguard to President Nana Akufo-Addo, Manasseh Azure Awuni showed a scene in the video where another leader of the group, was heard assuring the members and telling them that the President was indeed aware of their gatherings at the meeting.
In another scene, the Commander himself was also heard urging the members not to get themselves into trouble with the law, adding that in that particular week, no member of the group had been caught with the law.
He was heard saying they’re not going to rise up against Nana Akufo-Addo or any state official, but was heard boasting about the kind of training they give to their members, for which reason some of them had enlisted in the security agencies.
In criticizing the work of Manasseh, many have particularly described his use of the description ‘militia’ as extreme, sensational and inaccurate, with the explanation that the persons captured in the video in uniformed suits with no weapons or any rigorous physical training, could not have been members of a so-called militia or vigilante group.
The critics have also taken on the journalist and the Multimedia Group for causing fear and panic by overly hyping a documentary that in their view was not worth the publicity.
Some critics specifically questioned the use of hooded men in black with weapons in the promotional photos that were published on their online portal ahead of the airing of the documentary, although there were no such persons in the video.
Government itself has condemned the video describing it as a sensational and malicious piece of work lacking the right ingredients to pass for a good undercover piece.
Although the government admitted the group should not have held its meetings at the Castle, it stated emphatically that the group was not a militia group operating with the tacit support of government as the producers sought to suggest.
The New Patriotic Party, NPP, also dissociated itself from De-Eye Group, and said it had not sanctioned its operations at the Castle, although the producers of the documentary mentioned that members of the Eye-Group had in the past provided some security services at NPP events.
Paul Adom Otchere’s analysis
Before his detailed analysis of the documentary, Mr. Paul Adom Otchere said: “We want to comment about aspects of the documentary, because we felt that in some aspects of it, the documentary could have been more just and could have been fairer”.
He then continued by first showing his viewers a story on Myjoyonline titled “NPP militia training centre uncovered in the capital”.
According to Paul, the image of hooded men holding guns as advertised before the airing of the documentary was misleading.
He said “We were worried because when we researched, these photographs are photographs that have been exported from a Nigerian phenomenon. Something happened in Nigeria where these men apparently went into the Senate to have some difficulty removing Saraki or something like that. So really, this was quite scary; and anyone who saw this poster was particularly worried that we’re going to see a documentary in which militiamen either dressed like this as they were on the morning of the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election or that they were training shooting guns and stuffs like that.”
“This actually we think; constitutes wrong reporting because these photographs that were put up as adverts for the documentary did not actually do justice to the evidence that Joy FM had gathered in their documentary. So this is the first concern that we have.”
“This is a very big and important company, which is a media and news leader in Ghana, and if you’re putting out a documentary as they have done so many times and put up fantastic documentaries over the years, and this is the poster that advertises the documentary only for us to sit behind our sets and we find out that the people that have been secretly filmed do not look anything like this poster, then really it’s a little sensational and wrong reporting. That’s our first concern with our friends at Joy FM,” he noted.