The Chief Justice of Ghana, Her Ladyship Justice Gertrude A.E. Sackey Torkornoo has expressed concern over the growing abuse of freedom of expression worldwide by governments.
In a keynote address read on her behalf Justice Issifu Omoro Tanko Amadu, the Director of Judicial Training Institute at the opening of a UNESCO 3-day workshop on Freedom of Expression, Artificial Intelligence, and the Rule of Law for some selected judges from Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone at the Alisa Hotel, Tema on Monday, December 4, the Chief Justice said people are no longer allowed to freely express their views on pertinent issues of national interest.
“In the real world, the freedom of people to express themselves on pertinent national issues has been crippled by governmental interventions all over the world, not necessarily of a military character,” she said.
She noted that while freedom of expression is recognised as the pillar of democracy, allowing citizens to hold leaders accountable, governments continue to see it as a threat.
"It is therefore viewed as a distasteful right particularly among military juntas in the realm they govern," Justice Sackey Torkornoo alluded.
The Chief Justice further warned that "the growing practice of yellow journalism continues to frustrate progress" of achieving freedom of speech, expression and media freedom in Ghana.
She cited instances where some journalists and media houses have published "very distasteful, inciteful, hateful, and defamatory commentary and reportage targeted at private individuals, public persons and the institutions they head."
While condemning such irresponsible journalism, Justice Sackey Torkornoo stressed that "attacks and threats on journalists and the media is never an option and must not be encouraged to rear its ugly head nor prevail."
She advised persons affected by bad reporting to seek legal redress "through the appropriate state organs and the formal Courts system" instead of attacks which have been on the rise against journalists globally.
Also speaking at the event, Minister of Information Kojo Oppong Nkrumah told the judges that the public has put their trust in them to deliver stern judgment to perpetrators of media attacks to serve as a deterrent to others.