By Ballah M. Kollie
MONROVIA,(LINA) – The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Liberia has warned media institutions against the publication of “outright lies” that erode public confidence in the judiciary and the country’s judicial system.
“While we are making efforts to restore credibility and integrity in the judiciary, a handful of our citizens and some members of the print and electronic media are bent on discrediting our efforts in the name of freedom of speech and of the press,”
Justice Francis Korkpor said.
He said while Article 15of the Constitution provides for free speech and freedom of the media, Article 15(a) however restricts certain aspects of said right.
Korkpor added that Article 15(e) also gives courts the authority to punish violators for acts that offend its dignity.
He lamented the alarming rate of the abuse of free speech and press.
He said the printing of falsehood and airing of invectives by print and electronic media institutions and talk show hosts have the proclivity to create unjustified suspicion and disdain that certainly bring the judiciary into public disrepute.
“While we welcome criticisms of judicial acts and decisions, what is not permissible is for anyone to abuse constitutional provisions, and let it be clear also that all courts in other jurisdictions have punishing power,” stressed Korkpor at the opening of the March Term of the Supreme Court Monday.
Meanwhile, Justice Korkpor has vowed to institute appropriate penalty against judges and judicial workers involved in acts that undermine the credibility of courts in the country.