-Says Judge Eva Mappy Morgan
The Chief Judge of the Commercial Court at the Temple of Justice on Monday, April 8, 2019, said while it is true that the judiciary is clothed with the constitutional mandate to ensure that the country’s peace is sustained, the female judge said judiciary cannot do that all by herself.
Judge Eva Mappy Morgan said the peace in the country can be maintained only if the media can report accurately and fairly about decisions judges have rendered in cases before court, “because the reportage would either damage or build public confidence in the country’s justice system.”
“The judiciary must keep the peace through fair and impartial interpretation of the law, but the journalists also have the responsibility to keep the peace by the way they report about the judgments of the courts,” Judge Morgan said.
The female Judge made the statement when she served as one of the facilitators at the opening of a five-day capacity-building training for judicial reporters at the Temple of Justice.
Besides the journalists reportage, Morgan said Liberia can keep the peace its citizens are enjoying if people stop interfering with opinions (judgments) of judges, although she did not mention any instance where a Judge’s opinion was interfered with from anywhere outside the system.
“To keep the peace, it should not be that judges’ opinions are persuaded by another person; it should not be that way if we want to keep, and hold the peace,” Judge Morgan noted.
The five-day training organized by the Internews, focuses on the role of the judiciary in the context of rule of law and national development, the court system, techniques and the dos’ and don’ts in reporting litigation, particularly on criminal cases.
Other topics to be discussed, include covering proceedings in the Supreme Court, ethics of reporting, and application to court’s reporting, writing legal stories and the journalists’ responsibility to society.
Jan MacArthur, Internews Country Director, said the more accurately journalists report on the courts system, the better the country would enjoy its peace.
“Court cases are about facts and not remorse, and so journalists need to tell the truth by reporting accurately on the facts, because court cases are sensitive, and so, it must be told properly by a journalist,” MacArthur reminded journalists.
MacArthur said, if the facts were to be told accurately, it would make the people to have trust and confidence in the judiciary; help them to abide by the rule of law to keep the country peaceful.
“To maintain the peace, the judiciary and the media need to work together,” he said.
Earlier, Abednego Davis, president of the Association of Judicial Reporters, lauded the judiciary and Internews for the opportunity to help build the skills of members of the association in reporting of court related cases.
Davis then challenged his colleagues to take the training very seriously, because it will enable them to adequately report on the court cases to avoid being held in contempt or being faced with charges for libel or damages.