The Executive Director of the Africa Centre for International Law and Accountability (ACILA), Mr. William Nyarko says repealing the criminal libel law in 2001 but maintaining the criminalization of publication of fake news is outmoded and undemocratic urging the Parliament of Ghana to repeal the law.
The international law expert in a Facebook post sighted by Awake News said this following the arrest of Dancehall artiste, Charles Nii Armah Mensah aka Shatta Wale over publication of fake news on a gun attack on him and has since been remanded at the Ankafo Maximum security prison.
Shatta Wale indicated he made the claims to draw the attention of the Ghana Police Service of a prophecy by one Jesus Ahonfe who said on radio that he Shatta will be shot on October 18, 2021, a statement he said put himself in a state of fear and panic yet the Police have done nothing about it.
Mr. Nyarko asks “In a democratic society, should a person be imprisoned for allegedly publishing false information?” adding that “Criminalization of speech under seditious/criminal libel was repealed circa 2001 but criminalization of publication of false information which is also a mirror image of criminalization of speech still remains on Ghana’s criminal code, post-colonial rule.”
“Parliament should repeal Section 208 of the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (ACT 29) now.” – He emphasized
In a follow-up interview with Mr. Nyarko, he explained that the implication of the Section 208 of the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (ACT 29) is that even a Minister of State, a President, Journalists or any other person can be caught by this law in the event that any claim they have made in the public turns out to be false.
This he said defeat the very principles of democracy that encourages citizens to participate in governance through airing their views of opinions on issues that affect them.