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Judge Cautions Journalists Over Civil Libel

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A high court judge in Wa, Mr Kwasi Boakye, has cautioned journalists to be wary of the legal consequences of defamation of the character of public officials in order not to fall foul of the law.

He said although the law regarding libel has been decriminalized, the civil aspect remained a potent option that could undo journalists if they failed to exercise the necessary diligence in their work.

Mr Boakye said this when he swore in two officers of the Upper West Region branch of the Ghana Journalists Association at a brief ceremony in Wa.

The two are regional chairman Sualah Abdul-Wahab and regional secretary Prosper Kuorsoh.

The high court judge said journalists had an important role to play in Ghana’s development through accurate reportages and revelations that would help instill virtues of honesty into society.

Question of integrity

He said it was, therefore, important that journalists and their association showed evidence of their own unquestionable integrity to elicit the trust and confidence of society in order that the profession and its practitioners achieved the desired impact on the public.

He said it would be most unfortunate if a member of the media fraternity was hauled to court over a defamation case, stressing that such experiences could even kill initiative and stifle genuine intentions to uncover what was perceived to be wrong.

He insisted, however, that journalists could prevent such scenario by being diligent in the checks and crosschecks even if they had to sacrifice speed.

The deputy chief director of the Upper West Regional Coordinating Council, Madam Fati Koray, said journalists and their association must ensure that the controversies that attended the last elections of officers of the association would not surface again.

The immediate past regional chairman of the association, Pobia Badjin, asked the current leadership of the association in the region to build on the legacy they had inherited to protect the image of the association and the profession.

He advised young men and women interested in media work to acquire the appropriate training to enable them perform in credible terms.

Out of at least four positions available at the regional level, only two persons filed and competed during the recent elections across the country.

Regional chairman Sualah Abdul-Wahab said it was necessary to examine and address the apparent disinterest in the regional offices positions among members of the association.

Quick read:

A high court judge in Wa, Mr Kwasi Boakye, has cautioned journalists to be wary of the legal consequences of defamation of the character of public officials in order not to fall foul of the law.

Source: Graphic

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