Owners of Accra-based Montie FM, who have been convicted for contempt charges by the Supreme Court, have been fined Ghc30,000 cedis to be paid tomorrow, Thursday, July 28.
This was after the two panelists, and the Host of the ‘Pampamso’ political show, Salifu Maase, alias Mugabe, were sentenced to four months in prison , and fined Ghc10,000 each, also to be paid by close of Thursday, July 28.
Failure to pay the amount according to the Court, will attract another one-month prison term.
Mugabe, the host is said to have allowed the two panelists to threaten to kill justices of the Supreme Court on his show over their handling of the Abu Ramadan suit, on the credibility of the voters’ register.
The Presiding judge, Sophia Akuffo, reading the sentences said the two panelists willfully attacked the Chief Justice and lowered the authority of the court by insisting that they will not accept its judgment on a controversial matter of the voter’s register.
The four directors of Network Broadcasting Limited, owners of Montie FM; Ato Ahwoi, Edward Addo, Kwesi Kyei Atuah, and Kwesi Bram Addo, are to pay a fine of Ghc30,000.
Mr. Harry Zakuor, owner of Zeze media, which owns Montie FM frequency, 100.1, is also to pay a separate fine of Ghc30,000.
Citi News’s Fred Djabanor reported that “the company has also been ordered to provide the court with measures they have put in place to ensure that such things do not happen again.”
According to Djabanor, the Presiding judge, Justice Sophia Akuffo in her ruling, issued a warning to media houses to be circumspect in their reportage and let this development serve as a deterrent to them.
Owners of Montie FM were careless – Judge
The justices also said the owners were careless in their submissions to the court, as they appeared to have little or no interest in what transpired on their radio station. She expressed the hope that, every media owner will from henceforth take keen interest in what is churned out on their frequencies.
Journalists must be circumspect
Justice Sophia Akuffo acknowledged that although the media plays a very important role in democracy, much is expected of them in terms of being responsible in their work. She said whereas the media has the power to critique the works of others particularly in the public sector, they also have to be circumspect in their reportage not to churn out falsehood but the right information.
She said it was sad that the comments by the panelists were made exactly on the day when the judiciary was observing the martyrs’ day event, to reflect on the judges who were killed 30 years ago.
The Court issued a warrant for the owners of the station, host of the station’s ‘Pampaso’ programme, and the panelists, over the threat to kill judges for their handling of a case on the credibility of the voters’ register, to appear before them to answer for contempt charges. At the second hearing last week, the accused persons were found guilty of contempt.
Alistair Nelson blames ‘strange disease’ for outburst One of the accused, Alistair Nelson , at that hearing, blamed his comments on a disease called “kpokpogbligbli.” According to him, “kpokpogbligbli is an unknown disease that takes over a person’s body and controls what he says and does.
Nelson made the confession when he appeared before the Supreme Court to explain why he and others should not be “committed to prison for contempt of court, for scandalizing the court, defying and lowering the authority of the court, and bringing the authority of the court into disrepute.”
On his part, the host of the show, Maase Salifu, popularly known as Mugabe, apologized for his comments, also adding that his producer fell ill and there was no one to control him in the studio. Mugabe also stated that he regrets his comments and pleaded with the judges to forgive him as he has been a journalist of good repute for 15 years.
By: Marian Ansah/citifmonline.com/Ghana