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.”
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.”
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.
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
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
member of the NDC legal and communications team, Victor Kwadjogah
Adawudu, said the NDC and the President welcomed the decision.
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.
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.
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.
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.”