CALL FOR RESTRAINT

In the last few weeks, the media has been in the limelight, albeit for the wrong reasons.

It all started with the Montie FM panellists and their directors being summoned to appear before the Supreme Court for contempt.

Then the chairman of the Electoral Commission, Mrs. Charlotte Osei, launched an attack on the media, accusing it of being bias against the EC.

ON Friday, news broke that Parliament had banned a Graphic reporter, Mark-Anthony Vinokor, over a factual dispute, and referred him to the Parliamentary Privileges Committee.

Putting all these three developments together, it appears that the media is under attack from the two powerful arms of government, the Judiciary and Parliament.

Parliament has already passed its verdict and banned the reporter even as he has been referred to the Privileges Committee of Parliament.

In the case of the Montie FM and its directors, they have also being found guilty of contempt of court and awaiting sentencing next week.

The Times is not in the position to go into the merits and the demerits of the cases against whom various charges have been levelled, but nonetheless urging caution in the punishments we mete out to these “erring” media institutions and personnel.

We admit that what some of them engaged in were disgraceful and contemptuous, but we believe that they have been humiliated enough in public to serve as deterrent.

The public condemnation and their appearance in court alone should serve as punishment for them.

But while condemning those charged before court we also urge for restraint in other not to unduly penalise or harass the media for their editorial work.

There is the need for caution so as not to punish the media for the content of their work.

We urge the media also to be circumspect and always abide by the Code of Ethics of the Ghana Journalists Association as well as be guided by the rules and regulations of the National Media Commission.

Although the 1992 constitution guarantees the freedom of speech and of the press, it also bestowed responsibility on the media that must be upheld at all time.

What the media is going through must be a lesson to all practitioners and those who use media platforms that there are limits to what you can write and say in print or broadcast.

It is certainly a bitter lesson for some, but it surely serves as a learning curve for others.

 

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