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General News of Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Source: citifmonline.com

Suit against accreditation fees dismissed

Accra High Court has dismissed a suit brought before it by the International Standards Journalist Association (ISJA) which was challenging the Electoral Commission’s (EC) decision to charge journalists fees for accreditation to cover this year’s general elections.

According to the ruling by Justice Gifty Adjei Addo, the plaintiffs failed to come through the right process in bringing their suit before the court.

The court further awarded a cost of three thousand cedis against the Association.

The International Standards Journalists Association (ISJA), in the suit filed at the Human Rights Division of the Accra High Court, claimed that the move by the EC was a breach of the fundamental human rights of the journalists to vote.

According to them, the right to vote “includes the right to know whether the EC had acted properly throughout, at all material times.”

“The right to transparency of election management is not the preserve of political parties or candidates but it is the right of every voter in Ghana,” the association argued.

Meanwhile the ISJ has subsequently filed a new suit this time coming by an application instead of a writ of summons.

The group, in their earlier statement of claim wondered why the EC decided to charge accreditation fees when “non- Ghanaian journalists approved by the Commission to cover the election have not been asked to pay money to as a condition for the issuing of accreditation tags.”

The group further argued that “every citizen who votes is entitled to supervise the Electoral Commission in order to ensure transparency, credibility, legitimacy, legality and correctness of election processes and outcomes.”

“That right cannot be exercised by every citizen because of illiteracy, old age, sickness, the inconvenience of the greatest majority and the sheer volume of numbers as compared to the limited spaces available at the Commission,” it added.