The Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) has condemned Arit Nsemoh, a magistrate, for sacking journalists from covering court proceedings in relation to the murder of former Abuakwa North MP JB Danquah.
GJA president Affail Monney, in a press release on Monday June 19, demanded “an apology from the Judicial Service and a full assurance that reporters will no more experience any unnecessary hindrance and indignity in the coverage of the case”.
The magistrate, after the entry of the two suspects, ordered police officers stationed within the courtroom to prevent all journalists from entering. The police were also asked to usher out journalists already seated in the court.
Mr Monney explained that the magistrate said she ordered only a cameraman who was allegedly taking shots without permission at the court entrance to leave the premises and that she never issued a blanket quit order to all the reporters.
However, the GJA said her account contradicted that of journalists who were at the court, who quoted the magistrate as saying she did not want any journalist in her court.
“The GJA considers this action indiscreet, reprehensible and an affront to media freedom,” the statement said.
“The JB Danquah murder trial is of a huge national and international interest, given the tragic circumstances under which the young MP was killed,” hence “to deny journalists access to open court is to deprive the public in general and the bereaved family in particular the sovereign right to be informed about the proceedings to dispense justice in the case.”
The GJA commended the judicial press corps for their tolerance and encouraged them to follow the case and feed the public with the right information.