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|Title: ||The Role of the Public and the Media in Civil Court Proceedings in Nigeria|
|Authors: ||Lugard, Sunday Bontur|
|Issue Date: ||2018|
|Publisher: ||KAS African Law Study Library|
|Series/Report no.: ||Vol. 5;Iss. 1; Pp 111-121|
|Abstract: ||In a participatory democracy, the roles of the public, the media and the judiciary are key to
democratic sustainability. The public determines the direction of governments through elections, public protests, and acting through pressure groups, shapes governments’ policies.
The media usually supplies the public with the information that forms the basis of the decision on whether to support the government (including the judiciary) or not, and it also, as a
primary stakeholder, either directly influences the government with its reports or opinions
on government policies and laws.
Furthermore, the public and the media are generally speaking gratuitous social Ombudsman over the activities of the judiciary. They check the excesses of the judiciary and
publicize their opinions on their performance – the presence of the public and the media in
court, for instance, serves as a check on the likelihood of biased trials or compromise on the
part of the judicial officers concerned. This helps strengthen the system or entrench the concept of accountability in the dispensation of justice.
Recognizing the key role the public and media play in upholding open justice or public
civil trials, the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as Amended)1 provides in section 36(3) that in the determination of a person’s civil rights and obligations,
such a person shall be entitled to a fair hearing within a reasonable time by a court or other
tribunal constituted so as to secure its independence and impartiality and which hearing
shall be held in public. The 1999 Constitution further provides concerning the freedom of
the press in section 22 that the “press, radio, television and other agencies of the mass media shall at all times be free to uphold the fundamental objectives contained in this Chapter
and uphold the responsibility and accountability of the Government to the people.” The
freedom of the press is further fortified by section 39 of the constitution which permits the
establishing of any press medium for the purpose of dissemination of information and opinion, including those related to judicial proceedings.|
|Appears in Collections:||International Law and Jurisprudence|
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