The “entire saga” of the Montie Three reflected the extent to which radio had been “trivialised” and the depths to which journalistic standards had fallen in the country, renowned broadcaster Kwami Sefa Kayi has said.
For him, the decision to grant some persons free access to “the power of the media” to make unsavoury remarks against justices, for which they were subsequently incarcerated, was “almost depressing” and should not be allowed to happen again.
The Montie Three, as the trio – Salifu Maase, Godwin Ako Gunn, and Alistair Taro Nelson – were known, were convicted for contempt by the Supreme Court for insulting and threatening some justices of Ghana’s apex court on June 29, 2016 on Pampaso, a political talk show on Montie FM. They were each handed a four-month jail term in addition to a GHS 10,000 fine. However, following appeals by pro-government officials and groups, including the signing of a petition book by ministers of state among others, President John Mahama, invoking his powers under Article 72 of the constitution, granted the three remission after almost a month in prison.
But on the last edition of Multi TV’s Newsfile for 2016 on Saturday December 24, Mr Kayi, who is also host of Kokrokoo on Peace FM, said the whole development was an “embarrassment” for all Ghanaians and was “easily” his “lowest” point for the year.
“My lowest point was the entire saga of the Montie 3. It’s a lesson to all of us in how not to do some things,” he told show host Samson Lardy Anyenini, saying the circumstances surrounding the matter and how it all ended left him with a “sunken feeling”.
“Never again should we – those of us on radio, television, those of us in the media – use the power of the media to so denigrate, malign and insult people to the extent that a whole Supreme Court had to come in…and then the theatre that happened afterwards that culminated in a sitting president remitting their sentence… I just hope it never happens again.”
He continued: “…That’s what really gave me the lowest low... I think it was an embarrassing moment for all of us – journalists, politicians, ordinary, everyday Ghanaians, judges. It’s a blot on our conscience, I think, a very big blot."