Media Foundation wants law on contempt codified
He admonished all stakeholders to ensure that such a law does not criminalize speech or media expression.
Prof. Karikari made the appeal on Tuesday at a public forum organized by the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD) – Ghana, in collaboration with the MFWA and the National Media Commission (NMC) in Accra.
The forum was under the theme: “The courts, free speech and judicial accountability in a democracy: defining the boundaries”, was patronized by the members of the media fraternity, the academia, members of the diplomatic corps, civil society organizations, among others.
“Needless to say, the contempt cases at the Supreme Court have necessarily raised numerous questions about the rights to free speech, media freedom and whether there are or should be limits and what limits there should be, to these freedoms.
“The cases have also raised equally loudly questions about the professional and unethical weakness and malpractices of the media in Ghana,” Prof. Karikari said.
He challenged media owners and managers to sit up and improve their professional conduct and respect the ethical code of the profession.
Prof. Karikari said: “The Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association has virtually declared its disinterest in establishing their own self-regulatory mechanism.
“It should take advantage of this current experience to revisit their aversion to self-regulating their members.”
Prof Karikari advised the leaders of the two leading parties; the National Democratic Congress and the New Patriotic Party to rethink their attitude to media use and public utterances.
Prof. Emmanuel Gyimah-Boadi, Executive Director of the Centre for Democratic Development – Ghana, urged judges to keep themselves from public sentiments.
Prof. Audrey Gadzekpo of the School of Communication Studies, University of Ghana, said in matters involving the media, complaints should rather be made to the NMC for redress.
She lament that for so many years, Ghana has no broadcasting law to regulate the activities of the electronic media.
Mr Kissi Adjabeng, a lecturer at the Faculty of Law, University of Ghana, asked judges to always uphold the law and safeguard the sanctity of the judiciary, and they should remember that they were ‘placed there’ to serve the interest of the people.