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General News of Thursday, 28 July 2016

Source: Class FM

Montie 3: Supreme Court shown some lines can’t be crossed - GIBA

The Supreme Court has, by its sentencing of the Montie 3 to a four-month jail term, shown there are some lines that ought not to be crossed as far as the work of journalists is concerned, the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA) has said in a statement.

Radio presenter Salifu Maase, aka Mugabe, and two radio panellists, Alistair Nelson and Godwin Ako Gunn, were handed the sentence for scandalising the Supreme Court and bringing it into disrepute as a result of death threats issued against justices of the court by the two panellists who appeared on Mugabe’s Pampaso political talk show on Montie FM a few weeks ago. They were found guilty of contempt and sentenced accordingly.

Apart from the jail sentence, each of the three contemnors has been fined a sum of GHS10000. The owners of the station including Mr. Harry Zakkour, who is also the second vice chairman of the governing National Democratic Congress, as well as Mr. Edward Addo, Ato Ahwoi, and Kwesi Kyei Atuah, have been fined GHS30,000 each. They are to pay the fine by the end of Thursday July 28 or risk jail term. The owners have also been asked by the Supreme Court to submit policy documents spelling out how to forestall similar happenings in the future. They have also been asked to ensure that none of their media outlets will be used to scandalise the court or bring it into disrepute.

Reacting to the sentencing, GIBA said as an association, it was “law abiding and respects the verdict of the Supreme Court”.

“We entreat all members to be circumspect in their commentary and reportage on the issue and strictly abide by the tenets of our recently launched Code of Conduct,” he said

“The Supreme Court has sent a clear signal that within the freedom of expression guaranteed under our constitution, there are lines that ought not to be crossed and there is the need to make it universally unacceptable for anyone to engage in such conduct."

Group said it would continue its engagements with various stakeholders such as the National Media Commission, the judiciary, parliament, National Communications Authority, and Ghana Journalists Association, “to ensure the media remains free but the industry is well regulated”.

“As an industry association, we encourage all media owners and directors to strictly abide by the articles guiding corporate governance and ensure that the code of our practice is internalised, and policies and directives on responsible media practice are enforced. We are in touch with the owners and directors of the station and will provide further updates appropriately. We pray that cool heads prevail until the issues concerning our content standardisation are finally resolved at the Supreme Court”.

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