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22.07.2016 Feature Article

Montie FM’s Contempt Case And Matters Arising

Montie FM’s Contempt Case And Matters Arising
22.07.2016 LISTEN

The contempt case involving Montie FM at the Ghana Supreme Court has received massive attention because of its political undertones. The court has found the culprits guilty of contempt and is scheduled to pronounce sentence verdicts on them soon.

The culprits have expressed remorse and rendered numerous apologies for the unfortunate and condemnable threats which they issued against the Supreme Court Judges handling the Abu Ramadan’s voters registration case.

The circumstances and timing of the case requires that the Judges deliver sentence verdicts that are firm but take into serious consideration the political temperature currently prevailing in Ghana. The circumstances relate to the fact that the case has assumed huge political dimensions considering the entrenched positions that have been taken by the major political parties in Ghana on it. The timing of the case relates to the fact that Ghana is due for general elections just about four months from now with rising political tensions which should be carefully managed by all institutions and political stakeholders in Ghana including the Judiciary.

The Supreme Court should therefore render a verdict that calms the political waters in Ghana in the national interest. It has already sent a strong message on the issue by roping in owners of “Montie” FM and a radio station host on the programme to serve as a caution to owners of all radio stations in Ghana on the need to engage in serious self-regulation of programmes aired on their stations.

The Supreme Court should also render a verdict that strongly emphasizes its fairness to all parties in cases that come before it by taking into consideration similar contempt cases that have been handled by the Court in the past. A contempt case involving NPP’s Sir John previously before the Supreme Court in which he was alleged to have threatened the family of a Judge of the Supreme Court to prepare for his funeral in the event the case did not go his preferred way, and the sentence verdict issued to him is very relevant for consideration by the Supreme Court in this current context.

The lessons for the media especially owners of radio stations in all of this, is to engage in self-regulation to avoid the pitfalls that surround the operation of media establishments. Ghana’s vibrant media front has won the country huge accolades and positioned the country as a beacon of democracy in Africa. This commendation however comes with responsibility on the part of media operators and requires the preservation of the delicate balance between media freedom and media responsibility by all stakeholders including the Judiciary. The Supreme Court’s sentence verdict should therefore positively enhance media freedom while cautioning for media responsibility in the exercise of press freedom as enshrined in Ghana’s constitution.

God Bless our Homeland Ghana.
Mensah Dekportor (Germany)
Email: [email protected]

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