General News of Fri, 26 Jan 201821
Anti-Free SHS Saga: It’s fake news – Africawatch
The Africawatch magazine says it has not published any special report on Ghana’s free Senior High School programme as it has been reported in some Ghanaian newspapers.
The magazine wants its readers and Ghanaians to regard any such reports as “fake news” orchestrated by paid media mercenaries whose sole mission it is to utterly defame their reputation.
The Daily Guide and Statesman newspapers this week accused former President John Mahama of sponsoring a yet-to-be released anti-Free SHS publication by the Africawatch magazine.
The office of Mr Mahama has denied the accusation, and accused President Nana Akufo-Addo of sponsoring some media houses to orchestrate lies and spread falsehood against Mr Mahama.
But Nana Akufo-Addo’s spokesperson, Mustapha Hamid, says the president is too busy fixing the economy and has no time to orchestrate lies against Mr Mahama.
Reacting to these developments, the magazine said it has no campaign to wage against Nana Akufo-Addo’s government and also has no ties to Mr Mahama, nor has the ex-president commissioned them to do any special report on the Free SHS programme.
Below is the full statement:
STATEMENT BY EXECUTIVE EDITOR STEVE MALLORY REGARDING FALSE NEWS AIMED AT DEFAMING AFRICAWATCH MAGAZINE
Our attention has been drawn to a fake news report now appearing in a section of the Ghanaian media to the effect that Africawatch magazine “has initiated a campaign to discredit the free Senior High School (SHS) programme, introduced by the New Patriotic Party (NPP)” and that “the magazine has consequently dedicated its February 2018 edition scheduled to be released unto newsstands next week, for the start of the said campaign.”
According to this fake news story, Africawatch has devoted “a 44-page Special Report on what it says is ‘poor education in Ghana’”, and that 73,000 copies of the February issue have already been airlifted to Ghana for a so-called smear campaign against President Nana Akufo-Addo’s government.
This story is a completely false one, a product of paid media mercenaries whose sole mission is to utterly defame the reputation of a journalistic publication whose views some others do not agree with.
The Africawatch cover photo that was published by the media purporting to be our February 2018 cover is also fake. No such front cover was ever designed or printed by us. We want to state categorically that no Special Report on Ghana’s free SHS programme has been published by Africawatch, and no such story was ever planned. These allegations are a total fabrication and a figment of the imagination of those behind this hate campaign.
We therefore want it to be on public record, in the clearest terms possible, that Africawatch has no campaign to wage against President Akufo-Addo’s government. We must also state that we have no ties to former President John Mahama, nor has he commissioned us to do any Special Report on Ghana’s free SHS programme, as has been claimed by sections of the media in Accra.
We report news as we see it, and no one can peddle or influence our editorial policies nor control what we choose to publish. Our coverage in the past has always been informed by national interest, and national interest only. So any attempt by faceless individuals to tarnish the good name of this magazine will not stand.
We have instructed our lawyers to begin legal action against those media houses involved in these grossly slanderous allegations that seem to be politically motivated.
Such false news attacks not only hurt the targeted media house, but also reduce the public perception toward all the free press, while damaging the integrity of journalism and honest reporting, which are more important now than ever before.