Monday, 15 October 2007
We find it most regrettable that this paper was subjected to an undeserved, vitriolic verbal attack by the Ga Mantse, Nii Tackie Tawiah III at a durbar in Accra on Saturday.
As we report on this page, the Ga Mantse castigated the Ghanaian Times for what he perceives to be biased coverage of him. This is very unfortunate.
We would have preferred not to have to respond to the attack because we think it unseemly to be engaged in this kind of exchange with a traditional ruler.
However, we are compelled to respond for two reasons: the attack was made at a very public place and news forum. Secondly, he picked on some of our staff by name at a forum where they were not present.
And, given the kind of forum it was, even if they had been present, they could not have defended themselves.
Thus it was very unfair; and very unfortunate.
We bear the Ga Mantse no ill will.
If our reporting is inaccurate, then we expect mistakes to be brought to the attention of the Editor immediately for correction.
Aggrieved persons can also report us to the National Media Commission.
We do not recall that we have received any rejoinder to any of our reports about the Ga Mantse which we have shelved.
Indeed, as recent as the issue of September 18, we published a rejoinder from the Ga Traditional Council on the Ga Mantse’s trip to Togo, but there was nothing in that rejoinder about misrepresentation or factual errors on the part of this paper. There was no complaint about biased reporting.
In the absence of complaints about factual errors, and because our coverage of the succession case at Dodowa is cited, we are inclined to believe that the attack is an attempt to intimidate us and stop us from covering the proceedings.
This would also be unfortunate because it could be interpreted as an attack on press freedom.
The reference to tribe is also regrettable. Media houses and news rooms are staffed by people from every region in the country. What will happen to the media and even national unity if decisions to publish or not are based on where editors and reporters come from or do not come from?
We assure the Ga Mantse that we bear him no malice and our coverage of events in which he is involved should be seen for what they are: matters of news and public interest.
Our errors, if any, should be pointed out to us so that we can correct mistakes at the earliest opportunity.
However, the fact that a news item is unfavourable to someone cannot be reason enough not to publish it. Our duty is to report the news accurately, comprehensively and with fairness.
We take very seriously our duty as a responsible newspaper. We are confident that our readers know us to be a responsible paper that goes the extra mile to present very balanced, accurate reports.
We repeat: there is no malice in our reports on the Ga Mantse.
And, with all due respect, we will not be gagged.