You are obliged to ensure that facts in matters are told- NMC Chairman tells Journalists

Accra,- Mr Yaw Boadu -Ayeboafo, Chairman, National Media Commission, says journalists reporting from the Court have the obligation to ensure that facts in matters are told.

Mr Boadu-Ayeboafo, therefore tasked journalists to be fair to all parties in matters before the Court.

According to him, journalists should bear in mind the type of terminologies used in their reportage, especially when it comes to the uses of verdict and judgements, because it would prejudice the minds of people when judgements are delivered.

He was speaking at the inauguration of the Judicial Press Corps and launch of the handbook for journalists at the Law Court Complex in Accra.

The handbook was officially launched by Justice Dennis Adjei, a Court of Appeal Judge and Acting Director of the Judicial Training Institute.

The 37-page handbook highlights some legal terminologies, common Latin words and phrases, contempt of court and related offences and nature of contempt.

The Chairman of the NMC said journalists should not allow themselves to be used as vessels of chaos but rather they must understand the processes of the court and communicate accordingly.

He noted that there had been instances where journalists had miscommunicated and misinterpreted the rulings and decisions of the court.

Mr Boadu -Ayeboafo said in instances when journalists erred in their reportage, they should not wait for somebody to send them a rejoinder before they do the right thing.

He said it was wrong for the journalists to report on only one party in the court process and leave the other party out.

“You must state the course of each party in the matter if you file stories but when one party is attended too leaving out the other, you are prejudicing the matter. It is not healthy to leave out the other party,” he said.

On the formation of the Judicial Press Corps, the Chairman of NMC said it was important that journalists came together and worked together as learning from each other would improve on their quality performance.

He said, “there are many times that we have been embarrassed because we have not educated ourselves sufficiently in the rudiment and beats that we are covering.”

He cited the misinterpretation of an interlocutory judgment and final judgement of the court as some of the issues they usually came up with.

The NMC Chairman said the author of the handbook should have collaborated with the NMC which was ceased with authority in developing guidelines of such nature.

He noted that the guidelines could be legislated and worked on, so they became enforceable.

According to him, the NMC would not hesitate to call for a review of the guidelines whenever the need arose.

Source: Ghana News Agency

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