This is a BloggingGhana universal post on the issue of this month: Free Speech.
As I was driving home listening to City FM, the question was raised: Is This The Day When Freedom of Speech Died in Ghana? The case of Ken Kuranchie and Stephen Atubiga before the Supreme Court for making “prejudicial comments about the on-going election petition case” (from my understanding not in the court room but in media) and their sentences of 10 and 3 days in prison respectively offset this uncomfortable debate.
In addition to sentencing Kuranchie, a journalist, and Atubiga a politician of the ruling NDC, the Supreme Court issued a warning:
“any person be it in the media or not who crosses the final touchline on proper coverage and reportage on our court proceedings will be met with the appropriate response from this court.”
Now what do we make of all this? Also, exactly what was said, where? (I cannot seem to find the comments that were sentenced today, maybe reproducing them is now a crime?) Did the comments really undermine the supreme court? If so, is 3 or 10 days a harsh enough punishment?
And does it mean we should all not comment on the election case publicly? This evening the discussion has been hot on social media, mailing lists and the like and think I agree with a friend who said if we stop discussing the supreme court proceedings and rulings “are we not all admitting that freedom of speech has died?” Other friends, talked about how with the right to free speech comes a heavy responsibility, one quoted this Editorial in the leading newspaper the Daily Graphic on that press freedom is never fixed, but rather, in the words of a British lawyer: “what is left after the law had its say”.
I am confused! All this confusion, I believe, take away from the MAIN ISSUE AT HAND: Was the National Electoral Commission right to declare NDC winners in the election with 50,7% of the votes in the 2012 election?
Last week was PACs letter to RLG. This week, I have been reminded of the responsibilities that come with pressing “publish” on my blog. What is coming next week?