The Chief Justice, Kwasi Anin-Yeboah, has admonished the media to be circumspect in their commentaries towards the judiciary.
Addressing a press conference on behalf of the CJ yesterday, Tuesday, March 2, 2021, a Supreme Court Judge, Yonny Kulendi stated that the judiciary was open for criticism but would not accept insults.
He posited that the judiciary is a human institution, thus, has some imperfections.
He was however quick top add that their imperfections should not serve as an avenue for the media to allow people to insult and use abusive words towards adjudicators.
“The Chief Justice says I should tell you that ‘as trustees of the people power of justice, we are willing and happy to be criticised. Criticise us as violently as you can, but for Christ sake, don’t insult us. Don’t berate us, don’t speak hatred and malign us.
“Don’t [insult us] because, like yourselves and the work that you do and the heart that you bring to bear on it, it is a similar responsibility and consciousness that judges use to embrace their work.”
The press conference was a joint one between the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) and Judicial Service.
The press conference was organised following a notice sent to media houses by lawyers of the Judicial Service of Ghana asking them to pull down all stories they deemed “hateful, and incendiary” against Justices of the Supreme Court.
The GJA described this as a threat to the media and an action that defied logic.
The President of the GJA, Mr Roland Affail Monney, in a statement, said the “Judiciary is not immune from criticism”.
He described the statement by the judicial Service as “scandalous which is a threat to media freedom in Ghana”.
However, Justice Kolendi says the Judiciary is not seeking to silence the media but to urge them to be circumspect.
“You’ll have to take this phase of the responsibility very seriously. It is as important as the role you have performed in transmitting the proceedings worldwide because at the end of the day the Ghanaian people own the process.
“So it is important that they understand what went on and when the judges speak irrespective of our preferences, our likes and dislikes by the rules of engagement the referee blows the whistle and the lots fall where they fall. And so let’s be constructive, let’s be proactive,” he added.
“As a lawyer, I thought I knew judges; I spent my whole life in these buildings and I thought I understood it all. But in the transition I have made, I have come to appreciate the complexities, difficulties and challenges of being a judge.
“And sometimes the sleeplessness of going through in making sure that you can take a decision that you live with in your conscience and that you are true to your own.
“And so by all means critisise us because you are the owners of the process, we are just trustees and agents. But let’s be circumspect about vile improper, unfortunate language.”