Judges urged to respect media practitioners

Chief Justice Georgina Wood

Some journalists in Tamale in the Northern Region have challenged the constitutionality of judges preventing the media from exercising their duties in court.

They said the modus operandi of these judges is to prevent journalists from taking down notes in court while cases were being heard.

They say some judges are quick to slap contempt charges against journalists who try to exercise their duties in court, adding that those involved were over using their discretionary powers and called on the state and civil society to advocate against such practices.

The journalists who were expressing their opinions in a day’s workshop in Tamale on Thursday on the Freedom of the Information Bill were unanimous in their view that proceedings in court were public events and of public interest and were therefore at a loss why they must be made to undergo cumbersome processes before being allowed in court.

The workshop was organised by the Journalists for Human Rights (JHR), a civil society organisation based in Canada and was attended by about 25 journalists.

The participants also expressed frustration about how institutions such as Ghana Prison Service, Ghana Armed Forces, Ghana Judiciary Service and Ghana Health Service often denied journalists information.

They however urged colleague journalists to be professional and work within their limits and the confines of the law.

Mr James Munson, a Human Rights Journalists with the JHR said the passage of the Freedom of Information Bill would give journalists uninterrupted access to news and information that would help shape the society.

He said journalists were special individuals who shape society through their reporting, adding that government information must be made public and accessible to the media to avoid speculations.

Source: GNA

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