Say no to lazy journalism
Dr Joseph Kofi Gyanteh
P. O. Box Dc 408
The Executive Secretary
National Media Commission
REPORT OF DEFAMATION AND UNPROFESSIONAL CONDUCT BY DAILY GUIDE NEWS MEDIA
I wish to bring to the attention of your Commission certain disturbing facts about a journalist and Daily Guide newspaper.
Linda Tenyah-Ayettey, a journalist working for Daily Guide newspaper published a story which has dented my reputation and caused huge financial loss to my company.
Let me first of all introduce myself, so as to give a better perspective to the story that I am about to narrate.
My name is Dr Joseph Gyanteh. I am Private hospital Consultant. At the time of the incident I was working for an organization called Health Facilities Regulatory Agency. This is an organization under the Ministry of Health, responsible for licensing of Hospitals and clinics across the country.
I am also a businessman and I run a private consultancy helping people to start their own private hospitals across the country.
On November 2, 2017, the Ghana Police Service invited me, and asked me to help them find a gentleman by the name of Dr Gidisu. They told me that I was not the main suspect but they needed me to help them track the said doctor because they believed that he was engaging in some criminal activities.
Being a law-abiding citizen that I am I fully cooperated with the Police and helped them to arrest the said gentleman.
Whilst I was at the Police Station, some journalists came there to find out more about the story. I was with the Police PRO and the Commander, at the time.
The Police PRO and the Commander stated emphatically, that they are now about to start investigations and the journalists should therefore go and come the following day for their official briefing.
The two journalists approached me and asked me if I wanted to comment. I voluntarily agreed because I had nothing to hide. I narrated to them my version of events and told them that I am completely innocent. I even challenged them to go to the Ministry of Health and the location of the hospital to find out more details. This is because I knew was innocent and I wanted them to know the truth before publishing anything in the media.
Despite my persistent pleas of innocence and despite the clear warning from the Ghana Police Service that the matter is under investigations, so they should go and come the following day for more accurate and official statement from the Police, I woke up the following day to realize that these journalists have published a ‘malicious and ignorantly biased story’ about the issue at stake.
Let me hereby state my grievances and I proceed.
MISCHIEVIOUS PHOTO HEADING
The news item showed a picture of myself and the gentleman. But there was no caption underneath the photo. Those who read the story therefore couldn’t identify the alleged FAKE SURGEON and myself. In fact, because of my popularity in the healthcare sector, most people who read the story thought I was the one claiming to be a fake surgeon and setting up a fake hospital.
As a healthcare consultant you can imagine the damage that this story did to my reputation.
The Ghana Police Service is the institution investigating the incident. If they have told you to wait and come the following day for official briefing, why then did they go ahead with the story?
As a defendant or the accused, I took my time to narrate my side of the story. When the story was published, however, the journalist completely ignored my version of the events. As a matter of fact, the story did not even mention the fact that they had spoken to me and I had denied the allegation.
All the journalists needed to do was to go to the Ministry of Health and the Health facilities Regulatory Agency to find the truth. Ironically, the Health Facility Regulatory Agency office is just 5 about minute drive from the office of the Daily Guide. However, they could not pass by the office to do further investigations before publishing the story.
The hospital that the journalists alleged was fake and nonexistent is located at Akuse Junction on the Akosombo road. As I type this letter, the hospital has been inaugurated and have even started undertaking health screening exercises. I challenge anyone to go the location and find out if the hospital really exists or not.
Despite more than a year of appealing and demanding that they retract the story, the media house has refused to heed to my advice and request.
I have lost a lot of money as a result of their ignorant and malicious news story which was also republished by other news agencies.
I can prove beyond all doubt that I lost at least $20,000 contract late year as a result of this malicious and unprofessional journalism.
Lastly and more disturbingly, the news article accused me of several things that even the Police did not accuse me of. For example, the news item stated that I had created a website to recruit for the fake hospital. The evidence is there to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the website was created at least 5 years ago.
I, however, met the said gentleman only 3 months before the story broke out. The Police never accused me of this so why is the journalist accusing me of a crime that even the Police are not accusing me of.
This is the more reason why they should have waited for the official police briefing.
I am not a journalist but at least I know that before you come out with a story, you should as much as possible verify your information from some sources before you publish. I willingly gave them all the information I had and even told them the places that they can go to get the facts, but they maliciously ignored me.
I am passionate believer in the media freedom and I was very happy when Ghana was adjudged the country with the most press freedom.
However, I also believe that freedom goes with responsibility. Irresponsible journalism is a threat to all citizens and needs to be condemned.
I believe in the rule of law and I believe that the media should give everyone a level playing field. No one is guilty until proven by a competent court of jurisdiction.
Why is a news media agency bent on destroying me over an issue that even the Police did not see it worth to charge me?
The hospital that they claim was fake has since been inaugurated but the malicious story is still online and causing me and my family further embarrassment and despair.
Given that I believe in the work of the Commission, I write to therefore seek the following:
That your outfit should invite the managers of Daily Guide newspaper to come and answer to the above allegations I have made against them.
They should explain why despite that fact that they now know the truth that the hospital is not fake, they have still refused to retract the story.
Why they went ahead with the story despite warning by the Police to hold on till they have the facts.
They should explain why they did not go the Ministry of Health and the location of the hospital to investigate further before publication.
They should publish a full retraction in the media and circulate it to other media outlets.
They should render an unqualified apology to myself, my family and loved ones for the trauma and psychological torture they have put us through for the past 16 months.
They should adequately compensate me for the huge financial losses that I have incurred as a businessman because of the story.
I was not charged by the Police. In fact, I was release and have since not even been called by the Police again. The hospital has even started operating. It is located at the Akuse Junction on the Akosombo road. I have enclosed a photo of it.
I was instructed by my team of lawyers to file at the courts for redress, but I was advised by a friend journalist to rather use your outfit to seek redress. I have therefore halted the defamation suit because I am hoping and indeed, I believe that I will get enough justice from your organization.
I am available for any further enquiries or clarification.
Dr. Joseph Kofi Gyanteh
Cc: Ghanaian journalist Association.