Reporting from the courtroom is one sensitive area that every journalist is enjoined to be fair, accurate and balance in presenting matters of prosecution to the public.
According to His lordship Richard Mac Kogyapwah, the Supervisory Judge at the Tamale High Court, most cases have actually suffered because of wrong media reportage in the country.
He said the court is an institution of public records and journalists must always procure the facts of events from the court registrar in order to impartially inform and educate the public.
He assured under no circumstance would a reporter be denied any information from the court but except when it is necessary to protect certain privileges under the law.
Justice Richard Mac Kogyapwah indicated most often than not, journalists in excess of excitement and desire of every media person to be the first to flash news to their readers, in that bid are likely to misrepresent some of the facts.
“To get the right facts, always contact the registrar of the court because our documents are public records and it is accessible to the general public, so under no circumstance that you press would be denied unless off course for purposes of protecting certain privileges under the law” he reiterated.
The High Court Judge made the remarks during an interaction with journalists last Friday (July 8, 2022) when he sworn the Northern Region elected executives of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) into office in Tamale.
“Normally, certain cases hinges on how the facts evolve when the proceedings progress and you would always see that the judge is busily take notes – verbatim, what the prosecution are telling us, so, in such a case, the only place you can get the right facts as presented by the prosecution is from the court registrar” he added.
He urged journalists and media outlets to have open mind even when disgruntled parties in a trial present somewhat facts to them for reporting.
He observed that, “Most people who rushed to your offices are normally those want to report some particular facts; he/she is not necessarily interested in the whole facts to give a fair judgment of the matter but unless you [Journalists] procure all the facts or you may not inform the public accurately”.
He further entreated the media to always crosscheck and double-check facts or risk defaming others and committing libel.
Meanwhile, the Northern Regional Chairman of GJA, Mr. Yakubu Abdul Majeed, for his part called for collaboration between the media and the judiciary to work as partners for development.
He urged the judiciary and other state actors to always open their doors for journalists anytime they come to seek information in their line duty.