Affail Monney-Media should not criticise Judicial Service in a manner that will put the administration of justice into disrepute

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The President of the Ghana Journalist Association (GJA) has advised media practitioners to be mindful of the manner in which they criticise the Judicial Service. 

Speaking at a press conference, Monday, Roland Affail Monney indicated that even though the Judicial Service is not immune to criticism, journalists should desist from reportage that will bring the reputation of justice into disrepute.

“Criticism they say is a gift which all arms of government need so it will be a miscarriage of fairness to deny the Judiciary of that gift. 

“Ann Landers once said the naked truth is always better than the best-dressed lie. Contextually, the naked truth is that the Judicial Service is not immune to criticism, however, that criticism should be done in a manner that will not bring the administration of justice into disrepute,” he emphasized.

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His comments come after a statement by lawyers of the Judicial Service warning the media against what it called, inciteful comments against judges hearing the election petition and ordering the deletion of certain content on some news websites.

The Judicial Service threatened to take appropriate actions if such statements were not taken down.

Their actions, according to the lawyers, are to ensure that the media do not abuse the right to free speech.

Reacting to their directives, Mr Monney asked the Justices to retract their statement because it has the tendency of stifling the right to freedom of speech and expression. 

According to him, “their actions are tantamount to an unwarranted assault on all the tenets of freedom of speech and freedom of the media as guaranteed by the 1992 Constitution.” 

The GJA president insisted that if their comments are “not reversed immediately, the ill-advised, ill-timed, ill-crafted and ill-issued statement by the Judiciary can provoke a tsunamic backlash, lower the dignity of the court in the eyes of freedom lovers and critical citizens, pollute the media environment, undermine our impressive media rankings globally and dim the beacon of our democracy,” he said.

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That notwithstanding, he urged the media houses to desist from making contemptuous comments against the Judges regardless of how “provocative” the Judicial Service’s statement might be.

“The GJA urges the media community to be calm in their disposition and decorous in their pronouncement so that they will not be led into temptation to scandalize the court with their comments or reckless verbal stones no matter how provocative the statement from the judicial service might be”.

Source: Myjoyonline

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