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Ghana News

Government urged to repeal Electronic Communications Act and Criminal Code in Ghana

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The Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA), and the Private Newspaper Publishers Association (PRINPAG) have jointly called on the government of Ghana to repeal the Electronic Communications Act and the Criminal Code, specifically Section 208 of the Criminal and Other Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29).

According to the media stakeholders, the government’s use of these laws to persecute journalists and activists is a ploy to silence dissenting voices and suppress press freedom. The group revealed that since the beginning of 2022, many journalists and one civil society activist have been prosecuted in Ghana using these laws.

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The President of the Ghana Journalists Association, Mr. Albert Kwabena Dwumfour, disclosed that the recent arrest of a presenter of Accra FM, Mr. Kwabena Bobie Ansah, and other similar incidents prompted concern about the reintroduction of criminal libel, which was repealed in 2001.

The media stakeholders argue that Ghana’s plummet from the top of the list of African countries with the freest media environment in 2018 to 13th place in 2022 is due to the abuse of these controversial laws. They called on the government to adequately resource the National Media Commission to regulate media content effectively and discourage police involvement in the media regulatory space.

The media stakeholders committed to promoting professional standards in the media and urged all journalists and media houses to uphold the highest level of integrity and professionalism. They also warned that they would call out any journalist or media organization that violates professional ethics and standards.

In conclusion, the media stakeholders emphasized that press freedom and other forms of freedom come with responsibility and the duty to respect public sensibilities, human dignity, and public interest. They hope that their call for a repeal of the Electronic Communications Act and the Criminal Code will lead to a positive change in Ghana’s press freedom environment.

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