Tuesday, September 8, 2009

RE: Raymond Archer's Rejoinder

There is no argument about the journalistic stature of Mr. Raymond Archer. Unequivocally, he has acquitted himself so creditably that he deserves the respect of everyone. This respect we shall accord him come what may but, we shall also do well to expose self-aggrandizing motives. We say this with regards to a recent rejoinder submitted by the esteemed journalist, Mr. Raymond Archer, in respect to an earlier contribution by one Mr. Prince Prah (see Raymond Archer rejoinder, of www.ghanaweb.com of 04/09/2009).

In the said rejoinder, Mr. Raymond Archer talks extensively about Mr. Prah's purported loathing towards him and his newspaper and some baseless claims of attack on his person. Regarding the so-called personal attacks, we would leave it to the good people of Ghana and discerning readers to judge for themselves. Anybody who follows events in Ghana and reads the tabloids from an unprejudiced perspective will only acquiesce with Mr. Prah. That gentleman only presented factual information on some of the goings-on in Ghana. The Enquirer hurriedly published a story which sought to portray Mr. Ace Ankomah as an impostor without crosschecking its facts. This is what Mr. Prah talked about and he gave a few examples regarding Mr. Raymond Archer's journalism. We believe all that Mr. Raymond Archer had to do was to defend himself against the allegations.

What we find quite ridiculous is Mr. Archer expresses intention of using the ghanaweb.com medium to eulogize himself and quite pompously, to blow his own horn unlike Kwaku Sakyi-Addo who allows Larry King to blow it for him. We find that self-aggrandizement a bit unfortunate as the prestigious journalist used the medium to tell us all that he has achieved in order to promote himself. We will briefly expatiate on the disingenuous effort of Mr. Raymond Archer to contemptuously brush Mr. Prah and almost everyone he does not fancy aside and show us how big he has become in the Ghanaian journalism circles.

We shall end up writing volumes of things were we to contend ourselves with exposing the entire flaw in the rejoinder. We would like Mr. Archer to calmly accept his blunder and learn to correct it. We should also put on record that this is not very straightforward especially when you have built an enviable reputation of being the Best Investigative Journalist in Ghana, the first African journalist to win the  prestigious (Mr. Archer's adjective) Global Gold Medal for Excellence in journalism, the Natalie Prize for Africa and the Co-winner for the Best West African Journalist.

We do not mean to say , dear reader, that Mr. Archer is egotistical but we feel he should have dealt with the issues raised by Mr. Prah rather than reiterating to us what we know already --namely all his credentials and laurels.

As prolific a journalist as he is, he faulted himself for, most of the things he wrote had no bearing on the allegations raised by Mr. Prah. Mr. Archer could have done himself justice by dealing with the issues and sparing us another mention of his awards.

Mr. Archer, a supposedly believer in democracy, tries to suppress its most important tenet, to wit, freedom of speech. He finishes his rejoinder by admonishing ghanaweb.com against mischief makers, who will use the medium to tarnish the images of others through libelous articles. This we feel-- is a disreputable suggestion.

Some journalists are disgusting with very nauseous writings but we do not ask governments to suppress their newspapers. Therefore, we find it very uncanny on the part of Mr. Raymond Archer to talk about accreditation on ghanaweb.com and concern himself with the integrity of news content on the website.

Well, maybe it appears the great man wants all of us to go to the School of Journalism or Communication before we can send our write-ups.We are happy that the ghanaweb.com management is no poodle of anyone. We know that most of us are not accredited and Mr. Archer seems to suggest that our contributions should be binned. If he should succeed, ghanaweb.com, like the newspapers, will become a monopoly of the few elite journalists.

Thank God ghanaweb.com will not take any such ill advice; it will not pursue the same gullibility of some journalists who are always ready to report news and tarnish the images of others with the speed of light but slack when they have to retract malicious stories. Mr. Archer may only be human; however, retracting nasty stories and maybe offering an apology to the person involved is also not superhuman!This is the responds from

Thomas Dickens, somebody I have never met before in my life and am wondering it’s a pen name since most people do that.

Raymond Archer Rejoinder

I have read with shock, a report emanating from one Prince Prah published on Ghanaweb.com which launches blistering attacks on my person and The Enquirer newspaper.

Most times I do not respond to people like Mr. Prah because from the tone of his story published on this website, it is obvious that he does not like me, neither does he like my newspaper, but I bear him no grudge for that because that is the beauty of democracy.

I must have been a best investigative journalist in Ghana, I might be the first African journalist ever to win the prestigious Global Gold Medal for Excellence in journalism, I might be the winner of the Natalie Prize for Africa, I could be Co-Winner for Best West African Journalist but the truth still remains that I am only human. That is why I will still accommodate lies and uninformed write ups such as the one written by Prince Prah.

I am sure if I walked to Labadi Beach in Accra and did the unthinkable by walking over the sea, Mr. Prah will still condemn me and say its because I don’t know how to swim.

First and foremost, I have never condemned Mr. Ben Ephson as stated by Mr.Prah. On the contrary, he and I remain good friends. I visit Mar Ben Ephson from time to time. It is up to Mr. Prah- the truth machine to substantiate his claim. He may choose not to do so, I will still not bear him any grudge because he is not worth any pursuit.

Secondly, the issue of Mr. Ace Ankomah is very simple. I understand that the story was actually written without a byline yet Mr. Prah pinpointed me for the slaughter and not the Editor of The Enquirer.

But let me explain the story properly: Our sources at the BNI had alerted one of our reporters about the conduct of a man who had visited their headquarters claiming to be lawyer Ace Ankomah and wanting to be granted access to a suspect who was in the custody of the bureau.

He was denied access on the basis the was a procedure for gaining access to a suspect and it had not been followed by the so-called Ace Ankomah.Interestingly, not long after he refused access, the “original” Ace Ankomah was one of the first lawyers to comment on the arrest of the said suspect on joy fm.

The BNI said when the suspect was asked to give the name (s) of his lawyer (s), he did not include the name “Ace Ankomah”.The Enquirer basically run a story in which it reported that an "imposter" lawyer calling himself Ace Ankomah had gone to the bureau to flex his muscles. As we speak, the BNI has begun investigations regarding the matter.

Mr. Ace Ankomah has also denied that he visited the BNI on that particular day in respect of the suspect. The BNI’s investigations might include hours of video footage of visitors to its premises on that day.

Whilst we await the results of the BNI investigations, Mr. Ace Ankomah exercised his constitutional right to a rejoinder which Enquirer published unedited in our last edition.The next line will depend on the findings of the BNI.

Mr. Ace Ankomah in his interactions with me stated that he could not wait for the findings of the BNI since he was getting calls from his law students as well as his colleagues. In this circumstance, It would have been most unfair for The Enquirer to deny Mr. Ace Ankomah his constitutional right to rejoinder.Mr. Ankomah and I have had very friendly discussions on this matter and Mr. Prah's claim is a blatant lie.

On the matter of Prof.. Mike Oquaye, I wish to state that the matter is in court and The Enquirer stands by its publication which is backed by an Auditor Generals report. Unfortunately, the court has ruled that we discontinue any further publication on the matter until the case is determined.

This is not the first time The Enquirer has been sued but it is instructive to know that in spite of our hard hitting stories we have never lost any case in court. We are ready for Prof. Mike Oquaye and anyone else who wishes to go to court on our investigative stories.

On the issue of Ms. Sheila Sackey, The Enquirer has never been wrong, neither have we been proven wrong nor I will leave it at that. That issue is coming up again and I entreat Mr. Prah to take some notes.

On the issue of calling me a mercenary journalist, I guess I will leave it to the people of Ghana. I refer to Mr. Prince Prah to ask Ex-President John Agyekum Kufuor-and I am referring to a meeting held between myself, himself and a third party in his house in 2007. He is my best testimony of my integrity.

The Enquirer still remains the most powerful investigative newspaper in Ghana not because of mercenary journalism but because of integrity. If Mr. Prah's government had listened to us years ago, most of their Ministers and functionaries would not be going through what they are going though today. All these events were foretold by us long ago.

NB: I would however suggest to the management of Ghanaweb.com that in view of the fact that many people rely on your website for accurate information, you may have to reconsider receiving and publishing news content from non accredited and sometimes mischief makers. I read a similar article on this website on Mr. Kojo Bonsu and felt it was so libelous and very unfair to him. This new development is very much uncharacteristic of the website.

We all love this website and must be concerned about the integrity of news content. This is only a suggestion God Bless us all including Mr. Prince Prah.

Raymond Archer,

Prince Prah&Raymond Archer

I am posting a story which I did concerning Raymond Archer which was published on Ghanaweb.com, the circumstances the story got there am still figuring it out.

On Monday morning I was informed by a friend that Mr. Archer has responded in a form of a rejoinder on Ghanaweb and I was shocked because he could have done that by just forwarding his rejoinder to my Boss, Ken Kuranchie, who he worked with at the Chronicle but I cannot dictate to him.

If he is in the hate business am not because I would not gain anything from that and I wish him well like a colleague and a brother.

I wanted to react but I was advised not to by a notable senior in our field so I kept mute.

I was again called on Tuesday about a responds to Archer’s rejoinder and am wondering who really did that, anyway am happy somebody took him on but not me.

Ace Ankomah To Sue Enquirer!

Do you remember this headline: ‘Ben Ephson is not a good journalist?’ This was the headline carried in the paper of the missionary of professionalism, Raymond Archer concerning his colleague, Ben Ephson. Ben’s 'crime' was for not talking to one side of a story his paper was investigating. But now the preacher and condemner himself has been found wanting for the same offence.
Ben in doing his work diligently placed a call and left a message on the phone since there was nobody to speak to but he was condemned and described as unprofessional.
Raymond Archer in his bid to tarnish the image of an Accra based lawyer and lecturer, Ace Ankomah, went ahead with a story without doing the basic principle required in journalism of cross-checking his information. According to Raymond’s newspaper, Mr. Ankomah upon hearing that the son of former NIB boss was arrested, showed up at the offices of the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) and claimed he was the lawyer for the suspect. The paper continued that when the suspect was asked to name his lawyers, Mr. Ankomah was not one of them and had to the leave the BNI offices, from where he drove straight to Joy Fm to scream to the high heavens.
Now, Mr. Ankomah is very unhappy with the story because according to him he has never visited any BNI offices and has threatened to sue the paper if it does not retract the story.
Speaking on Joy FM, Archer now claims that somebody showed up at BNI on the day of the arrest and said that he was Ace Ankomah and that he was counsel for the suspect.
He continued that ‘I would not say that my source has misled me, like I said somebody else had gone there to claim that he is counsel for the suspect and gave his name as Ace Ankomah, either way it has complications for the BNI and Mr. Ace Ankomah’.

Speaking to Mr. Ankomah yesterday he said he spoke to one of the many editors of the paper and was assured of a retraction but it seems they do not want to do it.
“So I will give them a little time. If the retraction does not happen, Archer will receive court papers,” he said. Asked whether it was true he agreed with Archer to go and cross-check with his sources before the retraction is done, he answered that Archer merely informed him that he would go back and cross-check with the BNI.
“He told me he was going to do that. I sent him a text to say that I could not wait for his verification before he takes steps to clear my name”.
‘By close of day today he would receive his papers and we shall meet in court for his so-called sources to make me out’, he said.

The Enquirer this year in its quest to tarnish the images of certain persons it had targeted for reasons best known to its pay-masters started by launching a blistering attack on one Sheila Sackey followed by Hon. Osei Ameyaw and Prof Mike Oquaye.
In the case of Shelia even though they were in possession of original correspondence the paper still went ahead and quoted wrong figures in the refurbishment of Australia House.

Monday, September 7, 2009

A Tale Of Jokers!

The government has announced that the reduction in the years at the senior high school level, which it intended to revert to three years beginning this academic year, would take place from next year. By this announcement, junior high school leavers leaving school this year would enroll for a four year program instead of three. For many people including yours truly, the announcement came as a surprise; in the light of the fact that we had been led to believe that the children who were to enroll this year would be in school for three years.

The children, their parents and guardians had prepared themselves for a three year course, and for many of them, the announcement was a surprise. Indeed, a few weeks ago, a Deputy Director of Education and the Ghana Education Service (GES) had issued a press release ordering all heads of secondary schools to start preparing for three year programs. With this directive in mind, all the schools had been preparing for three year programs, and the late order coming from government and the Education Ministry is just going to create additional inconvenience.
That said I am getting increasingly worried about the conflicting signals we keep on getting from government. It points to a government that is confused and at sea and which really does not know what it is doing. Let me illustrate.

A few weeks ago, government announced that it had secured a consignment of crude oil from the government of Nigeria. The announcement also stated that the Nigerian government had also undertaken to start crude oil supplies to Ghana. That announcement came out in June. As we speak, the promised supplies have not arrived. Worse, the NDC government is now claiming that they cannot import crude oil for the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) because there is a huge debt and letters of credit cannot be raised. I ask myself, did the President know of these facts before he went into negotiations with the President of Nigeria? And if he did, was the Nigerian President aware before he promised us the crude oil? Clearly, either we are being lied to presently, or we were lied to previously. The claims that we were about to receive crude oil in June cannot exist, side by side, with the claims that we are hearing today that TOR is in debt.

This is not a President and government that can be trusted. Do you remember when President Atta Mills told the people of Ghana that he would be ensuring regular television and radio shows to tell the people of Ghana how the nation was faring? It has been nearly six months since he made this announcement. Nothing has happened. It paints a picture of a President who is not sincere, who promises one thing and delivers something that is completely other. I can cite further examples. Remember the ‘I’ll Be The President For All’ statement? Since President John Evans Atta Mills said that he would be a President for all, there have been many other Ghanaians who have come to believe that President Atta Mills is not a ‘President for all’. They have felt the vindictive bite of his administration and his pure bile, and they have come to the realization that this government does not mean them well, at all! Going back to why I believe that this government is not serious, I do not think that the Atta Mills administration has behaved responsibly in the matter of increasing the number of years at the SSS level. Indeed all of us know that it is a manifesto promise of the NDC government to reduce the number of years students spend at the SHS level.

Nobody is quibbling about that. However, in implementing manifesto promises, one expects governments to be guided by reality. It is clear that the President of the Atta Mills government, his Cabinet as well as the Minister of Education gave very little thought to the actual implementation of the manifesto promise. For instance, it has now been established that the four year SHS system is a matter of law. Before announcing that it was going to reduce the number of years, the government should have looked at the feasibility of ensuring its passage as a law in parliament. Again, President Atta Mills, his government and Cabinet should have done a study of the possibility of implementing the three year SHS before coming out with the announcement. Even after coming out with the announcement, they should have started taking immediate steps towards ensuring the implementation of the project.

It is clear that the government just made the announcement, then went to sleep, waiting on providence to ensure that the policy met muster. They were just hoping on luck and providence, and nothing else. They did not give a thought about the one million and one simple little things that it was necessary to do to ensure that the policy was successful!Indeed, we are being ruled by a bunch of jokers!Anyway, I am glad that they have seen sense this time round, and that in the long term, hopefully, they would allow good sense to be their guide.