Lawyers of the Judicial Service of Ghana have cautioned all media houses in the country to desist from publishing hateful, indecent and offensive statements against judges.
Their concern, they say “arises from the publication and/or permitting the publication of a series of incendiary, hateful and offensive statements, and speeches on their various platforms against the Justices.
“This concern has been heightened by the flurry of statements and speeches directed at our client’s Justices, especially after the commencement of hearing of the election petition in the suit intituled John Dramani Mahama v Electoral Commission & Nana Addo,” the statement read.
In the letter addressed to all media houses in the country, the legal counsel noted that publishing hateful and offensive stories against adjudicators threaten the democracy and peaceful nature of the country.
It further stated that some of these “publications directly insinuate that the decisions of the Justices presiding over the matter are motivated by factors outside legal principles and proper judicial consideration”.
Of further concern to the justices is the fact that “The focus of the statements and speeches therefore patently insinuate that… the decisions are motivated by corrupt factors and devoid of any legal justification and/or reasoning.”
It has, therefore, cautioned media houses that these “statements and speeches interfere with the due administration of justice as Justices of our client are threatened with ominous consequences following their decisions which do not meet the expectations of some members of the society.
“The statements and speeches bring the administration of justice into disrepute as unsuspecting Ghanaians are being deliberately misinformed and manipulated to believe that the justice system is perverted and lacking in credibility,” the letter read.
In conclusion, it drew the attention of the media to the Ghanaian population which “consists largely of uneducated or not very well-informed people”, as such “it is necessary to take a stricter view of what criticism may be allowed of the justice system”, because “although the administration of justice must suffer the respectful though outspoken [not inciteful, hateful or spiteful] comments of ordinary men, it must not be adversely interfered with and/or brought into dispute”.