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General News of Wednesday, 27 July 2016


Sentencing of Montie 3 apt for law and order – MFWA

Suleman Braimah Suleman Braimah

Though the jailing of the three Montie FM contemnors, Alistair Nelson, Godwin Ako Gunn, and Salifu Maase, aka Mugabe, by the Supreme Court is sad and could have been avoided, it was necessary to ensure law and order prevailed, Suleman Braimah, Executive Director of the Media Foundation for West Africa has said.

The apex court on Wednesday July 27 handed a four-month jail term to each of the three men in addition to a fine of GHS10,000 each.

Nelson and Gunn threatened to kill justices of the court when they spoke on a political programme called ‘Pampaso’, hosted by Mugabe, a few weeks ago as they discussed a court case involving the PNC’s Abu Ramadan and the Electoral Commission regarding the credibility and sanctity of the register of voters as far as the existence on the roll of people who registered with their National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) cards was concerned.

The two discussants warned the judges to deliver a favourable judgment on the matter or risk suffering the same fate (extrajudicial execution) meted out to three of their forebears in 1982 during the PNDC junta of Flt Lt Jerry John Rawlings.

They were cited for contempt of court and subsequently found guilty, prior to Wednesday’s sentencing.

Apart from the three, 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. 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 news on social media, Mr Braimah posted on his Facebook page: “It’s sad, it could have been avoided. But in the nation-building agenda, it's important for law and order to prevail.”

He added: “Media freedom is for the good of society, not for the worst of it; a clear message that programme hosts can be held responsible for what happens on their programmes and owners for what happens on their networks. ISSUES NOT INSULTS.”

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