Tuesday, April 30, 2013

... Proceedings to be carried live on Radio, TV

 April 16, 2013(Lead Story)

The Chief Justice, Mrs Justice Georgina Theodora Wood, has directed that the proceedings of the presidential election petition currently before the Supreme Court be broadcast live via television and radio.
“This decision has been taken in response to the increasing calls from the public for the proceedings of the court to be broadcast live in view of the historic importance of this case,” a statement signed by the Judicial Secretary, Mr Justice Alex B. Opoku-Acheampong, and issued in Accra said.
According to the statement, the Supreme Court would communicate guidelines for the live broadcast at its next sitting, adding that “we expect that all media houses will co-operate and comply with the guidelines when they are announced.”
It expressed the hope that the decision “will deepen our country’s democracy and satisfy the greater public desire for accurate and up-to-date information on this historic and landmark case.”
The petitioners had,  from the  time of filing of their petition, advocated live coverage of proceedings, but the Judicial Service was not forthcoming on its position on the suggestion
A highly placed source informed the Daily Graphic that although, it was not a normal practice to allow cameras into courtrooms, the Judicial Service had made the exception to allay speculations and the twisting of facts by sections of the media and the public, reports Mabel Aku Baneseh.
“We are doing this in the interest of justice to all parties in the case. We want the public to follow events live to avoid needless speculations,” the source said.
The hearing of the substantive petition is billed for today, but considering the large number of boxes containing thousands of affidavits filed by lawyers for President Mahama and the National Democratic Congress (NDC), it is most likely the petitioners may not be served with all the documents before hearing begins today.
As of Monday piles of boxes were heaped on the premises of the Supreme Court, while court clerks busily sorted them out and stamped them as filed.

Reactions to live coverage
 A member of the NDC legal and communications team, Victor Kwadjogah Adawudu, said the NDC and the President welcomed the decision.
“A step in the right direction and victory for democracy because the whole world will see how the petitioners are performing in court and will come to the conclusion that the election was free and fair and the President validly won the election on the wheels of hard work.
“It will also allow Ghanaians, the international community and supporters of the parties to know what actually happened in court and can judge which media are biased in their reportage and are being an appendage of the political parties.
“Secondly, it will also break the mystery that justice is always shrouded in secrecy and that the door to the shrine of justice should be kept shut,” he said.
The Executive Director of the Danquah Institute and member of the petitioners’ legal team, Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, said, “Excellent news. We asked for it even before the petitioners could file their case.
“It will be useful in getting overwhelming national acceptance of the decision of the court. It will give all Ghanaians the opportunity to hear and see what is going on to follow the proceedings and not leave it to propaganda spin by the parties.
“It is good news. We are happy the Supreme Court has been flexible to the realities in this regard because we got a letter from the Judicial Secretary that said no. We are happy they have changed their mind. We have not received any official written communication yet.”

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