General News of Monday, 8 July 2013
The Editors Forum Ghana has petitioned the Supreme Court panel hearing the 2012 election petition to reduce the ten-day sentence handed to Editor of the Daily Searchlight newspaper Ken Kuranchie for contempt, on humanitarian grounds.
Mr. Kuranchie was sentenced last week Tuesday after the judges found a recent front page comment in his newspaper to be contemptuous.
But in a petition to the Acting Director of the Judicial Service and signed by Chairperson of the Forum Ajoa Yeboah-Afari and dated July 5, the Forum appealed for a mitigation of the sentence since the intended caution the judges sought to send has already gone to the media.
Below is the petition
The Acting Director Complaints Unit
Accra July 5, 2013
PETITION ON BEHALF OF DAILY SEARCHLIGHT EDITOR MR. KENNETH KURANCHIE FROM THE EDITORS FORUM, GHANA (EFG)
The Editors Forum, Ghana respectfully extends its compliments to you.
If we may introduce ourselves, the EFG is a group of editors present and past, senior journalists and media educators. Affiliated to the Ghana Journalists Association, the EFG was founded in 2005 with sponsorship from the UNDP under its Peace and Governance Programme.
Sir, as our heading indicates, this is a petition from the EFG on behalf of Kenneth Kuranchie, Editor of the Daily Searchlight newspaper, sentenced to a ten-day term of imprisonment for Criminal Contempt by the Election 2012 Petition Supreme Court Panel.
As a body which has long campaigned for responsible journalism, we would be the first to agree to the need for the media to always bear in mind circumspection in exercising media freedom and the need for respect for the Panel.
We are also aware that the Panel probably could have given our colleague a harsher sentence, but we believe that the Lordships only sought to send out a strong caution.
Thus, respectfully, this petition seeks to plead with the Panel through your office to consider reducing the sentence on humanitarian grounds. For, we are convinced that the intended effect, the warning to the media of the importance of knowing where to draw the line in writing, has already been achieved.
Indeed, it is our belief that the media family took the warning to heart as soon as the sentence was pronounced on Tuesday, July 2, 2013. We also believe that Mr. Kuranchie, too, has learnt his lesson.
We, therefore, plead with you to use your good offices to intercede on humanitarian grounds for a mitigation of Kenneth Kuranchie’s 10-day sentence which he has already began serving.
Ajoa Yeboah-Afari (Ms) EFG Chairperson
(Tel: 0208 198 086)
Her Ladyship The Chief Justice, Mrs Justice Georgina T. Wood Chairman National Media Commission, Amb. Kabral Blay-Amihere President GJA, Mr Affail Monney President PRINPAG, Mrs Gina Blay