Manasseh Azure Awuni, an Investigative Journalist, has observed that some judgements by the courts in Ghana are an insult to judicial integrity.
An Accra High Court in a judgement directed the National Communication Authority (NCA) to accept GH¢1,500 from the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) for the information it requested regarding the number of radio stations operating in the country as of the end of the third quarter of 2020.
Since the Right to Information (RTI) Law was passed in 2019, concerns have been prevalent over how state agencies have gone about its implementation.
Some citizens in their quest to access information have sometimes been met with resistance by state officials charging monies to provide information, the latest victim being the MFWA.
MFWA had prayed the High Court, among other reliefs, to declare that the amount of GH¢2,000 demanded by the NCA to generate the information constitutes constructive denial, refusal, failure or neglect, and breach of Applicant’s right to information under Article 21(1) (f) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana.
But the court was not convinced and slashed only GH¢500 from the NCA’s proposed amount.
Though the RTI law allows for some fees to be charged, it requires that this is done in line with the Fees and Charges Act. However, the Parliament has yet to decide on the approved amounts.
In a post on his Facebook timeline to Chief Justice Kwasi Anin-Yeboah, Manasseh Azure Awuni linked the judgement by the High Court to Dr Dominic Ayine being hauled before the General Legal Council’s disciplinary committee over comments he made on the 2020 Election Petition.
Manasseh Azure Awuni wrote, “Chief Justice, some judgments insult the integrity of the judiciary more than Dominic Ayine’s words. Take note, sir.”
Samson Lardy Anyenini, recently announced 2019 Ghana Journalist of the Year, has also expressed his dissatisfaction with the unregulated fees charged for acquiring information from state departments and agencies.
Lardy Anyenini opined on Newsfile that public institutions charging fees for public information demanded by the citizens makes “nonsense of the law”.