Deputy Minister of Information, Pius Enam Hadzide has described a host of TV3’s ‘New Day’ program, Johnny Beresford Hughes as unprofessional and irresponsible in his style of moderating the program.
In a live interview on TV3, Monday [May 11, 2020], the Deputy Information Minister described the conduct of the host as exhibiting bias and lacking professional etiquette when he [Johnny Hughes] sought to bring to his attention that he was spending his time not addressing the question he posed to him but giving in to Hon. Kwame Governs Agbodza (MP, Adaklu who was also a guest panelist on the show) interjections.
“Pius use your time on economic questions, you have spent 5 minutes already of your time on Agbodza…You are spending all your time trying to do this, you have not answered. I would rather love you to address my question… I’m just alerting you that you have spent 6 minutes of your time now. You should respond to the questions that I’m asking you.” Johnny Hughes told the Deputy Information Minister.
Pius in reacting stated that “never mind, when it’s time cut me off. Let me point out to you that I don’t appreciate how you moderate this program. I feel that your bias is too clear and you are not being professional in conducting the program.”
Johnny Hughes who felt uncomfortable with the Minister’s comment expressed his disappointment and shock and put forward that the Minister was not being fair to him.
“I don’t think you are being fair to me as I pointed the same out on three occasions to Hon. Agbodza to concentrate on answering the questions I asked him rather than heeding to your interjections.”
But Pius who was fumed responded by saying “maybe you should take time after the program to watch. I feel very uncomfortable about this method and I must say that to you. I am telling you honestly. I am experiencing this so allow me to explain it… I am not enjoying this.”
Pressed on by Hon. Kwame Governs Agbodza to apologize to Johnny Hughes as his comments are a dent on Hughes’ personality and professionalism, Hon. Pius Enam Hadzide without mincing words stated that he wasn’t going to apologize as his statement was a concern and not a personal matter.
“I’m not surprised that you are taking his side because he has been playing to your favor from the very beginning of the show.”
“I hear your advice but unfortunately I am unable to accept it. It’s not a personal matter.”
“I feel that he is unprofessional if he shows bias to you over me.”
“I believe that when a host of a program is showing open bias to one of the panelist, it is irresponsible. It is unprofessional.” He stated on live television.”
Watch the video below;
Meanwhile, a coalition group called ‘Free Media Vanguard’ on Monday, [May 11, 2020], sounded condemnation on what they described as ‘Attack on the integrity of Mr Johnnie Hughes, host of Tv3’s New Day programme by the Deputy Information Minister, Pius Enam Hadidze’.
In a press statement, they stated that the Minister’s action both on the show and off air affirms their earlier position that media freedom is under attack in a country that once enjoyed the accolades as far as media freedom is concerned and demanded for his immediate dismissal by the President.
“It is very sad that a deputy minister of information will denigrate an astute journalist like Johnnie Hughes live on national TV, just because he sought to insist that he clarified issues the viewing public needed answers to.
“It is interesting that this happened a day after the President of Ghana touted free speech in the country, which triggered so many questions owing to numerous instances of molestation of media personnel and the arbitrary manner in which radio stations were shut down a year ago.”
“The month of May also happens to be a month Press freedom is celebrated around the world, and yet a government official like Pius Enam Hadidze who is quick to point fingers at others is the one leading this trend today.”
“Free Media Vanguard demands that President Akufo-Addo fires the Deputy minister for this dishonorable conduct.”
“This, when done by the President, may suggest he cares about the media freedom given to us by the constitution. Failure, however, to do so will mean otherwise.”