The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) has described the letter by the Judicial Service of Ghana to media houses across the country as an “affront to free speech and press freedom which threatens the pillars of democracy that the people of Ghana have nurtured over the years,”
This was contained in a statement issued by the NEC at the end of its emergency meeting held on Monday, 1 March, 2021 to discussing some pressing issues of national interest.
Touching on the ongoing vetting of Ministerial nominees, the NDC urged its Parliamentary caucus to be “firm and resolute in their duties on the Appointment Committee.”
It further urged them “to reject insincere apologies rendered by some of the nominees at the Vetting Committee sittings and hold them responsible for their actions and/or statements which violate the obligations imposed on Public Office Holders by the 1992 Constitution.”
The NDC NEC called on Ghanaians to “rise up against the creeping culture of silence and dictatorship being imposed on the nation” following the “the clandestine activities of some security agencies embarking on “the arbitrary and malicious arrest and detention of citizens for exercising their right to free speech on social media.”
It noted that “the letter from the Judicial Service seeks to limit the right to free speech and press freedom to mere praise singing of the Judiciary, even in the face of several unjust rulings from the apex Court.”
According to the NEC, “the Judicial Service has no right or authority to threaten anyone, much less the Media, for performing their constitutionally mandated duties. There are clear procedures laid out in our laws for dealing with specific infractions of media ethics and laws. We find the letter from the Judicial Service an affront to free speech and press freedom which threatens the pillars of democracy that the people of Ghana have nurtured over the years.”
It therefore condemned the letter and called on “the Judicial Service to withdraw same without delay, as a sign of respect for the democratic culture of free speech and press freedom.”
The Judicial Service, in the letter to the media houses which, according to it, had published “hateful, spiteful, vengeful and incendiary” comments about the Justices of the Supreme Court, ordered the media platforms to “pull or cause to be pulled down and cleared from your platforms”, all such statements and speeches.
The Judicial Service also demanded that those media houses, as well as all others, “prevent the publication of such statements and speeches on your platforms”, and “forthwith, exercise the highest level of discernment, discretion and responsibility insofar as the publication of statements and speeches regarding the administration of justice is concerned”