Election petition: Judicial Service’s letter an attempt to gag and censor the media – NDC [ARTICLE]

According to the party, the letter from the Judicial Service seeks to limit the right to free speech and press freedom to mere praise-singing of the Judiciary, even in the face of several unjust rulings from the Supreme Court.

The NDC in a statement signed by its General Secretary, Johnson Asiedu Nketia said “the Judicial Service has no right or authority to threaten anyone, much less the Media, for performing their constitutionally mandated duties.

“There are clear procedures laid out in our laws for dealing with specific infractions of media ethics and laws. We find the letter from the Judicial Service an affront to free speech and press freedom which threatens the pillars of democracy that the people of Ghana have nurtured over the years.”

The NDC’s statement comes after the Judicial Service advised the media to be measured in their reportage on the case.

The Service is particularly concerned about what it described as hateful, spiteful, and offensive statements against the seven Justices of the Supreme Court hearing the election petition.

READ MORE: Election petition: Here’s why the Supreme Court dismissed Mahama’s review application

The warning addressed to some specific media houses was contained in a statement released by the solicitors for the service, Sory@Law, and signed by its managing partner, Thaddeus Sory.

“Apart from the fact that these statements and speeches directly mention some of the Justices hearing the petition, a number of your publications directly insinuate that the decisions of the Justices presiding over the matter are motivated by factors outside legal principles and proper judicial consideration.

“The focus of the statements and speeches, therefore, patently insinuate that the decisions are motivated by matters unrelated to the rules and principles in accordance with which justice is delivered, but are motivated by corrupt factors and devoid of any legal justification and/or reasoning,” the statement said.

But Thaddeus Sory said his letter to the media over the coverage of the election petition case is not an attempt to gag or censor the media but rather to guide them.

He stated that media houses that are certain they have not published any hateful materials against the Justices of the Supreme Court should not be worried about the letter.

“If I say that if you published hateful things, pull them down, shouldn’t any responsible institution do that? he asked in an interview on Citi TV.

He said “Avoid hateful statements. Avoid statements that suggest that judges are not doing their work according to law. That is all that the letter states….The statement admits that they [judges] should be criticized… but do not criticize them outside the rules of criticism.”

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