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27.10.2003 General News

Sixteen members of NMC sworn in

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Accra, Oct. 27, GNA - The Chief Justice, Mr Justice George Kingsley Acquah on Monday caution the media and the public to be civil in the use of their language and show respect to high office holders.

He said the spate of insults and derogatory remarks heaped on people by newspaper commentators and callers during phone-in programmes on airwaves was a bad practice.

"It's not uncommon to hear words like liars, thieves, nonsense and other derogatory terms. It is indeed sad to hear such remarks made on our airwaves against the nations sitting President, ex-President, high ranking government officials and chiefs."

The Chief Justice said: " I am not saying that commentators, either in the print or electronic media should not criticise people's actions, opinions and omissions but in criticising, one expects that the language of the critic would be polite and civilised and not insulting, abusive and derogatory." Mr Justice Acquah made these remarks when he administered the oath of allegiance and the official oath on 16 out of 18 members of the National Media Commission (NMC) to admit them into office in Accra. The occasion coincided with the 10th anniversary celebration of the NMC.

Mr Justice Acquah said the country's Constitution did not empower any person or group of persons, by virtue of their profession to insult and malign their fellow human beings but it rather guaranteed the dignity and reputation of every individual.

The CJ noted that society has lost its bearing as far as respect for elders was concerned adding democracy abhorred disrespect and indiscipline. Mr Justice Acquah therefore urged members of the NMC "to strive to ensure high journalistic standards in the country so as to give meaning and content to the constitutional provisions guaranteeing respect for dignity and reputation of individual."

He said the Commission in doing so would be fulfilling the objectives for what it was established. The CJ however commended the NMC for settling disputes between journalists and aggrieved persons over the years. He cautioned journalists against the publication of vicious and malicious allegations at the request of disgruntled persons against innocent people adding "such vicious publications cause much grief and pain not to the victim but also to their families".

Those who swore the oath included: Mr Paul Adu-Gyamfi of the Ghana Bar Association; Mr Joe Baidoe-Ansah and Ms Gifty A. Asantewaa Ayeh, both presidential nominees; Mr John Akologo Tia, Parliamentary Nominee; Mr Kofi Asamoah of the Trades Union Congress; Mr Reginald D. Laryea, Institute of Public Relations/Advertisers Association of Ghana and Mrs Rose Fynn, National Council on Women and Development.

The rest are Mr Wilson Kusi Atansah, Ghana National Association of Teachers; Mrs Gifty Affenyi Dadzie and Mr Yao Dziekpor, both from the Ghana Journalists Association; Mr Kingsford Amoah, representing the Christian Group; Mrs Helena Asamoah-Hassan, Ghana Association of Writers, Professor K Ansu-Kyeremeh, representative of Media Training Institutions. Others are Mr Abubakar Sadick Ahmed, Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association; Mr Issac Fritz Andoh, Private Newspaper Publishers Association and Mr Saeed Kwaku Gyan, representative of the Muslim Group. Mr Abraham Ossei-Aidooh and Mr Kwame Osei Prempeh, both parliamentary nominees were absent.

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