Managing editor of the New Crusading Guide Newspaper has expressed disappointment over the sentencing of a journalist and a political activist to separate jail terms by the Supreme Court.
Abdul Kweku Baako Jnr said having suffered a similar fate in the past he would not wish same for others.
He said the manner in which the judgement came evoked sad memories of the past, insisting, he would rather prefer a society of ugly noises than one with a culture of silence.
Abdul Malik Kweku Baako’s comments on Joy FM’s Newsnight follows a 10-day imprisonment sentence pronounced on a defiant Editor of the Searchlight Newspaper, Mr. Ken Kuranchie as well as the three-day sentence handed to Atubiga of the NDC- both of whom were cited for criminal contempt by the Supreme Court.
The senior journalist recalled his similar predicament when he was sentenced on 23 July 1998 for contempt.
Today’s ruling was a “sad, distressing moment”, because the issue of contempt was still “a grey area”, he says but mentioned he was not challenging the Supreme Court.
The decision is to be interrogated and subjected to a “thorough examination… without scandalizing the court”, he recommended.
This, he says, is because everybody could fall into the trap of contempt.
He called on the Ghana Bar Association (GBA), Ghana Journalist Association (GJA) and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to rise to the occasion.
In his view the strategy by counsel for the jailed journalist did not work out too well after his client mitigated his defence mid-stream and somewhat apologized for the publication.
He should have gone the ”long haul” to contest the summon and “insisted so the matter would have been dealt with fully”, he counseled.
Kweku Baako said Tuesday’s ruling could harm free speech. People will be scared of commenting on judicial issues and this culture would not be in the interest of the judiciary.
The Judiciary, he says, needs an active civil society to defend them. If pushed to the wall, he would choose a society of ugly noises than one with a culture of silence, Mr. Baako noted.
Nonetheless, responsible statements was important in maintaining social order, he concluded.