The National Media Commission has debunked reports that suggest it has given specific directives to ban fetish priests from operating on various media platforms effective May 1, 2020.
Barely a week ago, the news went viral with suggestions that the President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo had directed the National Media Commission to ban all fetish priests from regulated media platforms.
A statement signed by the Executive Secretary George Sarpong reads;
“Information circulating on social and some mainstream media to the effect that NMC has banned ..fetish priests- is fake.
While the Commission’s insistence on fact-checking and accuracy naturally puts obligation on the media to avoid carrying unverified materials including magical or spiritual claims, the Commission has not given any specific directive on “fetish priests”.
That the fake news found space in some mainstream media must be of concern to professional journalists as the presentation raised doubt about its authenticity.
First, the story did not attribute its source to any named person within the Commission thereby raising questions about source credibility.
Second, the claim that the Commission was ostensibly acting upon the directive of the President is as wrong as would have been unconstitutional. Article 172 of the Constitution provides that the Commission shall not be subject to the direction or control of any person or authority in the performance of its function… So both in law and in practice.
His Excellency the President gives no instructions to the NMC and the Commission takes none from any other person or authority. In essence, this element alone gives the story three signals of falsehood – firstly. the false claim that the President has given instructions to the Commission on any matter at all: secondly, the false claim that the supposed instructions related to “fetish priests” in the media: and thirdly, the false claim that the Commission has acted upon that in breach of the Constitution.
Finally, the Commission’s Guidelines on Religious Broadcasting contain no provision which could remotely be interpreted to mean what is claimed in the fake news