Judge Orders Detention of Reporter for Recording Court Proceedings

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Mr. Saviour Imukudo
Premium Times

On July 27, 2022, the Chief Judge of Akwa Ibom State, Justice Ekaette Obot, ordered Premium Times’ reporter, Mr. Saviour Imukudo, who was in court to cover the proceedings of a defamation suit between the State Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, and Leo Ekpenyong to leave her court. But as he was leaving, the judge directed her police orderlies to intercept him, confiscate his telephone and detain him.

Saviour was released at about 5 p.m. after Premium Times Assistant Managing Editor (Southern Operations), Cletus Ukpong, met with the chief judge in her office.

The judge had ordered his arrest because he used his telephone handset to record the proceedings in her court without her permission. Saviour who admitted recording the proceedings explained that he did so to enable him accurately report what transpired in court. Saviour said: “Because the case had become controversial, I wanted to be careful,” the reporter said. “I wanted to capture the highlights on tape so there is no risk of misquoting anyone.”

The reporter was compelled to delete the recording he made, with Justice Obot saying permission must be granted before any recording of proceedings must be made in her court. He was then released and his telephone returned to him.