The four-month jail term handed to the three Montie FM contemnors – Alistair Nelson, Godwin Ako Gunn, and Salifu Maase, alias Mugabe, is unprecedented, Ebenezer Ato Sam, popularly known as Baby Ansaba, managing editor of The Punch, has said.
On Wednesday July 27, the Supreme Court of Ghana handed the sentence to the three for scandalising the highest court of the land and also bringing it into disrepute.
Apart from the jail sentence, each of the three contemnors has been fined a sum of GHS10000. The owners of the station including Mr Harry Zakkour, who is also the second vice- chairman of the governing National Democratic Congress, as well as Mr Edward Addo, Ato Ahwoi, and Kwesi Kyei Atuah, have been fined GHS30000 each. They were given up to Thursday July 28 to pay or risk a month’s jail term. The owners have also been asked by the Supreme Court to submit policy documents spelling out how to forestall similar happenings in the future. They have also been asked to ensure that none of their media outlets will be used to scandalise the court or bring it into disrepute.
But Baby Ansaba, who once served a 19-day jail term for contempt when he was editor of the Free Press in 1998, said: “As a journalist and somebody who writes and speaks a lot on radio and even on television, I think that it is unprecedented.”
He told Citi News on Friday July 29: “There is nothing to show in our history books that any journalist or even lawyer has been sentenced to contempt or has been found guilty of contempt and sentenced to four months. The common one we have heard was maybe a number of days or one month but four months is too harsh for me and too punitive. I should like to believe that the judges were using their emotions.”
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