Police in the Northern Region says the recent directive to stop a Tamale-based radio station from broadcasting proceedings of the Ya-Na murder trial is not meant to gag the media.
North Star Radio, which is owned by former Vice-President Alhaji Aliu Mahama, was reportedly broadcasting the proceedings in Dagbani based on newspaper reports. But the Metropolitan Security Council ordered the cessation of the program, saying it was heightening tension in the area.
The Northern Regional Police PRO, Chief Inspector Ebenezer Tetteh tells Asempa News the decision of the police was grounded on the fact that the discussion was unbalanced and had the tendency to inflame passions and exacerbate the situation there.
He said the police held meetings with management of the station on Monday morning and they have agreed to cease the broadcast of the courts proceedings.
But this action has already raised concerns as to what level of restriction a security agency can place on the media in its content delivery.
Article 162 Clause 4 of the 1992 Constitution states “editors and publishers of newspapers and other institutions of the mass media shall not be subject to control or interference by Government, nor shall they be penalized or harassed for their editorial opinions and views, or content of their publications.
However, Article 164 says “The provisions of articles 162 and 163 of this constitution are subject to laws that are reasonably required in the interest of national security, public order, and public morality and for the purposes of protecting the reputations, rights and freedoms of other persons”.
So at what point does media reportage infringes on security and in particular the North Star radio in Tamale.
With the Metropolitan Security Council and the police in the Northern Region citing security reasons for this ban, Chief Inspector Ebenezer Tetteh tells Asempa News the Police are not out there to gag the media but perform its constitutional duty of ensuring peace.
Meanwhile, the GJA says the matter is yet to be brought to its attention.
Affel Monney Vice-President of the GJA tells Asempa News journalists have a responsibility to discharge their duties whilst ensuring rule of law is upheld but concedes that that path is a tight rope to walk.
Kojo Asare-Baffour Acheampong/Asempa News/Ghana