Lawyers kick against blacklisting Party general secretaries

General News of Saturday, 20 April 2013

Source: Joy Online

Sir John Nketiah

Some lawyers have jumped to the defence of Messrs Asiedu Nketia and Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, general secretaries for the two leading political parties, NDC and NPP respectively, rebuffing calls for the two to be blacklisted by the media.

Earlier this week there was an intense lobby by the Ghana Journalists Association calling on the media to stop giving mileage to the intemperate words of the two general secretaries in the ongoing election petition being heard by the Supreme Court.

The GJA’s call was backed by many including a former president of the Greater Accra regional branch of the Ghana Bar Association, Sam Okudzeto; Executive Director of the Institute of Democratic Governance, Dr Emmanuel Akwetey; Member of Parliament for Aburi-Nsawam, O.B. Amoah; and Editor-in-Chief of the New Crusading Guide newspaper Malik Kweku Baako, who also felt the two gentlemen should be blacklisted.

But not everybody seems to buy into the call by the GJA.

On Joy FM’s news analysis programme hosted by Samson Lardy Ayenini, three legal practitioners albeit aligned to the NDC and NPP – Alhaji Inusah Fuseini, Abraham Amaliba and Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko – shot down the calls for the two general secretaries to be restrained from commenting on the election petition.

Inusah Fuseini, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources earlier indicated he had minor issues with how the live telecast of the court proceedings is being translated in the local languages in some radio stations.

Nevertheless, he suggested that the two should be allowed to speak their mind, and cautioned against those who assume that because they interpret what transpired in court, they infuse a “certain level of mischief”. He said, “Leave it to Ghanaians out there to judge.”

“Since we have allowed live telecast we shouldn’t put fetters on those who want to interpret what happen in court,” the minister stressed.

Inusah Fuseini believes Asiedu Nketia and Owusu Afriyie, popularly known as Sir John, have a right to talk about the countenance of witnesses as well as the mood in court.

On his part, Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, Executive Director of the Danquah Institute, maintained that he doesn’t “believe in censorship”.

Emphasizing that the two should not be blacklisted but should be allowed to speak out, he however implored the media to expose them when they make false statements in order to put their credibility on the line.

For Abraham Amaliba, a member of the NDC legal team, the two only “want to give hope to their followers”, and therefore approach issues in a way that will give hope, but are “not deliberately spinning” facts.

He said blacklisting would defeat the essence of the live coverage, adding that the court would be in a better position to deal with them if their utterances are contemptuous or prejudicial.

Nevertheless, he said the media should be held responsible for giving them the platform to propagate their agenda.

However, Kweku Baako, a strong advocate for the blacklisting of the two said one could only infer from their speeches political, judgmental, accusatorial comments but not law.

He accused the two of engaging in “deliberate misrepresentation” of proceedings in court, which he said is an affront to the reality the live broadcast sought to cure.

He also pointed out that the call to gag them was not meant to infringe on their right to speech but to curtail the “ugly politics” they are doing.