A statement issued by the GJA and signed by Mr Affail Monney, President and copied to the Ghana News Agency said the GJA have been painstakingly investigating the reported quit orders issued by the Magistrate, Ms Arit Nsemoh on Thursday, June 15, 2017 to journalists covering the JB Danquah murder trial.
The GJA concludes that the Magistrate over-reacted and showed gross disrespect to the press corps in open court.
The statement said “In the course of the investigation we spoke to the Magistrate, the reporters on the beat as well as sources within the Judicial Service. According to the Magistrate, she only ordered a cameraman who was allegedly taking shots without permission at the court entrance to leave the premises and that she never issued a blanket quit order to all the reporters.
However the statement said “Her account was sharply contradicted by the reporters who quoted the Magistrate as saying "I don't want any journalist in my court". As a result, other reporters even without cameras were given marching orders by the police”.
The statement said the GJA considers this action indiscreet, reprehensible and an affront to media freedom.
“The JB Danquah murder trial is of a huge national and international interest, given the tragic circumstances under which the young MP was killed.
“To deny journalists access to the open court is to deprive the public in general and the bereaved family in particular the sovereign right to be informed about the proceedings to dispense justice in the case.
“We demand an apology from the Judicial Service and a full assurance that reporters will no more experience any unnecessary hindrance and indignity in the coverage of the case,” it said.
“Meanwhile, the GJA commends the Judicial Press Corps for their tolerance and patriotic decision not to boycott the case. May their high sense of duty and social responsibility continue to be in glow until justice is done,” it added.