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Who Is Baby Ansabah?

Sun, 7 Feb 2010 Source: Yankah, Dinah

Ask Dinah Yankah




Ebenezer Ato Sam or Baby Ansaba who will pass as the most controversial journalist unrivaled in the history of Ghana burst into the stage of journalism during the early 1990s when he was posted to the Daily Graphic for practical attachment. My credible and impeccable sources at the Daily Graphic have it that Mr. Yaw Boadu-Ayeboafoh, General Manager in Charge of Newspapers was then the News Editor. In his desire to be commended for being a hardworking student journalist, I am told Ato Sam would go on assignments and add a lot of “beef” to statements and speeches. In short he did a lot of fabrications just to gain fame among his student colleagues at the time. This attitude of Ato Sam got the Daily Graphic into a lot of problems which led to the issuance of apologies and rejoinders by the paper at the time.





Beloved readers, Mr. Yaw Boadu-Ayeboafoh looked elsewhere when all this was going on and simply told Ato Sam to be careful when people started coming to the Daily Graphic to complain about comments and statements that Ato Sam had attributed to them in his reportage which they have no knowledge of. However, when issues concerning Ato Sam became too hot for Yaw Boadu-Ayeboafoh to handle, he and the editor at the time pushed out Ato Sam and banished him for ever reporting for the Daily Graphic. Many journalists currently working for the Daily Graphic knows this story very well.





After cooling off for sometime the next we heard was that Ato Sam had been employed by the Free Press. But as a leopard will always have a spotted skin or as darkness will always follow daylight, Ato Sam went to the Free Press with the same mindset; to make a “so-called name” for himself by manufacturing wild stories about people in higher authority. Readers would recall that Ato Sam was arrested by the Police in 1998 for trying to extort money from a sick government official who was then on admission at the 37 Military Hospital in Accra.





The gist of the story is that Ato Sam in 1998 contacted an official of the Ministry of Works and Housing who was at that time very sick and informed him that he Ato Sam has a damaging story about him that was about to be published in the Free Press. Ato Sam therefore, informed the said government official that if he wants the story to be “killed” he should pay a hefty sum of (10 million old cedis). This official feigned interest but alerted the police and arranged with Ato Sam to pick up the money. Lo and behold when Ato Sam showed up to pick up the money he was arrested by the police. If that case had been pursued by the police with Ato Sam being sent to court to defend himself, it would have set a good precedent for good journalism in the country today. But the case died a natural death for reasons which your guess could be good as mine.



The ramification of the arrest of Ato Sam on the bribery allegation was huge. It got Free Press on the edge. Many Ghanaians including people from the inky fraternity started lambasting the Free Press and its editorial staff, therefore to save its battered image the management of the Free Press within days summarily dismissed the disgraced Ato Sam.Â





The dismissal by the Free Press put the spotlight on Ato Sam as many Ghanaians became aware of this mischievous person parading in the country as a journalist. Many people thought that, that was the time the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) should have stepped in and dismissed Ato Sam from their fold. But strangely enough Ato Sam was let go by the GJA.





Again, after cooling off a little bit Ato Sam emerged from nowhere with a new name, Baby Ansabah. Journalists throughout the world do occasionally use pen names to write stories, but in Ato Sam’s case he changed his name to hide his past misdeeds from Ghanaians. He got employed by the Daily Guide and came up with wild stories which had no foundation or merit. But Gina Blay the Editor of Daily Guide published those stories which got the paper into trouble at certain times. At one time Ato Sam and Raymond Archer, Editor-in-Chief of the Enquirer even exchanged blows during a press conference at the premises of Afra Airlines after Archer had published in his paper that Ato Sam is a mercenary journalist and exposed him on the 1998 extortion story.





Ato Sam survived with his roguish acts at Daily Guide until he did something that ticked Gina Blay off. Readers again would recall that Ato Sam was booted out by Gina Blay from the Daily Guide when it emerged that Ato Sam now Baby Ansabah went to demand about 40 million cedis from Mr. Francis Poku, the National Security Coordinator under the Kufour’s administration to establish his own newspaper.





Not long after Baby Ansabah had been booted out from Daily Guide news went round that he was indeed about to publish his own newspaper, “The Punch”. This gave credence to the reason for Baby Ansabah’s sacking by Gina Blay.




During the launching of “The Punch” in Accra, Baby Ansabah invited some dignitaries in government and officials from high places. Beloved readers, it will interest you to know that the chairman for the launching of Baby Ansabah’s newspaper was no other person than Mr. Yaw Boadu-Ayeboafoh. It would also interest you to note that it was this same Yaw Boadu-Ayeboafoh who caused the banishment of Baby Ansabah from the Daily Graphic when he got the paper into trouble by fabricating stories. So why would Yaw Boadu-Ayeboafoh who claims to have impeccable journalistic character accept to be the chairman of a function whose editor Baby Ansabah has serious credibility problem? Your guess again is good as mine.


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Yaw Boadu-Ayeboafoh does not hide where his political allegiance is. He has harbored a long-time ambition to stand as an MP on the ticket of the New Patriotic Party. My sources at the Daily Graphic informed me that Yaw Boadu-Ayeboafoh currently heads the NPP gang at the Daily Graphic which comprise of Ransford Tetteh, Editor, Emmanuel Amoako, Deputy Editor and Kobby Asmah, Political Editor. If that is the case then it was no big deal for Yaw Boadu-Ayeboafoh to sell his conscience to attend the launching of Baby Ansabah’s paper since the paper was going to fabricate stories on the New Democratic Party (NDC).


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Not long after the NDC came to power in 2009, Baby Ansabah shed his skin and suddenly changed the name of his faltering newspaper to the “New Punch” and started to pander towards the NDC. Baby Ansabah had no choice but to change his tune because his paper was not selling and the rumoured dolling of money from the National Security office under the Kufour’s administration to sustain those mushroom newspapers had ceased when the NDC came to power.


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For the past one week, Baby Ansabah the trusted notorious journalist has again come under the microscopic lenses of many Ghanaians when he released the bombshell that he is now a “saint” who is sorry for his past misdeeds. Baby Ansabah informed Ghanaians during several interviews that he has now turned into a “saint” who wants to shed his bad traits of being used by some NPP gurus during the 2008 electioneering campaign to throw dust into the eyes of Ghanaians by publishing untrue stories about President Mills and the NDC.


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Baby Ansabah’s confession and so-called remorse has not gone down well with many NPP folks including Ransford Tetteh, who also doubles as the President of the GJA. In fact Ransford Tetteh and Emmanuel Amoako who together became the “Super Gatekeepers” of stories during the 2008 campaigns and still continues to do with active participation from Yaw Boadu-Ayeboafoh and Kobby Asmah, issued a statement condemning Baby Ansabah. But I would like readers to read into some of the things Ransford Tetteh wrote in his statement.


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Ransford Tetteh stated that Article One of the GJA Code of Ethics provided that “the duty of every journalist is to report the truth. It said the same Article One provided that “the public has the right to unbiased, accurate and balanced information”. Ransford Tetteh further stated that Guideline Five of the GJA Code of Ethics required the media to provide accurate, truthful and non-derogatory information about political parties and candidates as a way of providing the electorate with a fair means of assessing candidates and political parties. I love another part of Ransford Tetteh’s statement which noted that Guideline Three of the GJA Code of Ethics further stipulated that “journalists must crosscheck every bit of information and must be fair to all sides and they shall not report hearsay as facts.”


After I read this laudable statement by Ransford Tetteh I did a quick thinking to see if as the President of the GJA and Editor of the Daily Graphic if he Ransford Tetteh measures up to the same yardstick. But after painstaking research I beg to say that Ransford Tetteh and his gang at the Daily Graphic do not measure up to the same standard.


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I will cast the minds of Ghanaians to the 2008 electioneering campaign when Ransford Tetteh and his “Graphic Gang” decided to treat any news item from President Mills with the contempt that it deserves. Simply put, Ransford Tetteh and his gang put a news blackout on then candidate Professor Mills. Even when President Mills had held a press conference to voice out his concerns about the treatment being meted out to him Ransford Tetteh shamefully stated that the paper reserves the right to publish what it wants. Now Ransford is talking about the GJA Code of Ethics which enjoins journalists to publish fair and balanced stories. I wish Ransford Tetteh had gone through the “eye of the needle” during the 2008 elections.


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Yaw Boadu-Ayeboafoh writes beautiful articles which makes interesting reading. How I wish this man had not stopped writing when his NPP was in power. I bet if he did write during the NPP time he would have helped his party to correct most of their shortcomings which eventually led to their electoral defeat. Ever since the NDC came to power Yaw Boadu-Ayeboafoh writes weekly pointing out all the mistakes and shortcomings of the NDC. I urge him to continue to write, but I would also love it if Yaw Boadu-Ayeboafoh and the GJA executive would do a house cleaning exercise since the GJA has the likes of Baby Ansabah’s parading as journalists.


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If for instance Ransford Tetteh has seen the speck in Baby Ansabah’s eyes he must first remove the log in his own eyes. Journalists in Ghana are trained to educate and hold people in positions of authority accountable for their stewardship. But journalism in Ghana today has been thrown to the dogs when journalists act as lawyers and jump from one radio station to another defending politicians just to get some peanuts as thank you gifts. When such situations occur it is the country that suffers. So much money meant for the development of the country have gone down the drain due to bad judgment by some people holding positions of trust, yet when these issues are raised you have journalists who would go on air and justify those actions without allowing those people to tell Ghanaians why they did what they did.


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Ato Sam or Baby Ansabah must be dismissed from the inky fraternity and be banished as a publisher and editor if we have such a law to back that. But his dismissal or sanction would not put to rest the action and attitude of many other journalists we have in our midst today. Our beloved country has suffered because many people who have held positions of authority have come to the realization that just greasing the palm of one or two journalists would be enough to make them get away from the microscopic eyes of Ghanaians without bothering to account for their stewardship.


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The GJA has a lot of work to do. It must start from the very top. The association has become too political. At best this is what many Ghanaians think of the GJA. The leadership of the association has aligned itself with a certain political party at the detriment of the entire membership. And this allegation would not change if journalists continue to do the work of politicians for them. These days instead of journalists asking questions, they rather provide answers to justify what politicians have done. Ghana is bleeding badly. And Ghanaians are watching the actions of journalists.


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diyankah@yahoo.com

Columnist: Yankah, Dinah