Don’t credit Akufo-Addo for repeal of criminal libel law – Ben Essuman

The Executive Director of Solidaire Ghana, Mr. Benjamin Essuman, has chastised the Akufo-Addo led administration for what he describes as the return of the criminal libel law.

His comments come on the back of the arrests of some journalists and critics of the government in recent times. Power FM presenter Oheneba Boamah Bennie was jailed last week by an Accra High Court for contempt of court. He was dragged to the court by the Attorney General, Godfred Dame, for criticising President Akufo-Addo and some Judges.

Accra FM’s Nana Bobie Ansah was arrested last Thursday for some comment believed to be against First Lady Rebecca Akufo-Addo, raising questions about the existence of media freedom under a president who is known to be a human rights lawyer.

The latest is #Fixthecountry convener Oliver Barker-Vormarwor, who was arrested last Friday for some comment he posted on Facebook about a coup.

Barker-Vormawor being sent to court

He was subsequently charged with treason felony Monday morning after appearing before the Ashaiman District Court.

Speaking on the matter on Dwaboase, Mr. Essuman observed that the era where freedom of the media was curtailed has returned under Akufo-Addo.

Ghana’s Parliament unanimously passed the Criminal Code (Repeal of Criminal Libel and Seditious Laws) (Amendment) Bill in 2001 under former President John Agyekum Kufuor.

After giving his assent to the Criminal Code (Repeal of Criminal Libel and Seditious Laws) (Amendment) Act, 2001 (Act 602), a deed that freed journalists from suffering the pain of incarceration for exercising free speech and expression, then Attorney General, Nana Akufo-Addo was credited for that feat.

21 years on, Essuman, a journalist, believes stifling the media has been rampant under Akufo-Addo, saying the President did not believe in the repeal of the criminal libel law.



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