Ghana: Supreme Court Can’t Order The Media To Pull Down Stories On It-ASEPA

Ghana’s Supreme Court

Accra, Ghana//-The Supreme Court of Ghana through its Lawyers, Sory@Law has written to the media to pull down stories they reported about the court in the ongoing election petition hearing.

The apex court of the land believes those stories are scandalous. But the Executive Director of Alliance for Social Equity and Public Accountability (ASEPA), Mensah Thompson described the court’s attempt to gag the media as “outrageous”.

In his words: “First of all, this is outrageous, the Supreme Court cannot behave like a private entity in a defamation tussle.

This is the highest Court of the Land and it represents the Judicial arm of Government, an arm that is not above media scrutiny or any form of scrutiny from the people”.

Secondly, the person who made these so called scandalous statements has been summoned by the Court and has apologized before the Court and same way the media reported the scandalous remark, it has reported the apologies as well.

Isn’t that what the media is supposed to do, report?

When people criticize the Executive or Parliament, no one writes to anybody to pull down their stories, if they are in contempt of Parliament they are dealt with in accordance with law and the media reports on same”.

Asking the media to pull down stories from website and other platforms because someone thinks it is scandalous is an abuse of judicial power and to think that the Supreme Court which derives its powers from the people is ever seeking to protect itself from the people is even worse, Mr Thompson added.

“What the Supreme Court is attempting to do is to put fear in the media and prevent it from publishing “unpleasant” stories about them in future.

So the Supreme Court is saying; if the story about us is good publish it, if it’s negative don’t publish, if you do, you will hear from our lawyers.

So the Court wants a monotony of praises and never criticisms.

Assuming anytime we criticize the Executive or the President, the Attorney General writes to the media house to pull the story down, will there be any media practice in Ghana?”

The fundamental freedom of the Press enshrined under the Constitution of Ghana does not make an exception for the Supreme Court, free media is one of the key ingredients in a democracy and the moment any arm of Government begins to feel that they are an exception to this rule, then we are nearing anarchy!

Background

John Dramani Mahama, flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the 2020 Presidential election dragged the Election Commission (EC) to the Supreme Court.

He is seeking an order for a re-run of the 2020 Presidential election between himself and President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the candidate for the New Patriotic Party (NPP).

Mr Mahama said issues of irregularities and vote padding rocked the 7th December 2020. He argued that no candidate obtained more than 50% of the votes cast in the election. The Supreme Court is set to rule on the case on 4th March 2020.

African Eye Report

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