Tamale North Member of Parliament, Alhassn Suhuyini, has indicated that Ghana is moving back to the days of the Criminal Libel Law when journalists were jailed in the line of their duties, with the current arrests and prosecutions of practitioners.
According to him, the purpose of removing the Criminal Libel Law by the Kufuor administration, with Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo as the Attorney General at the time, is being defeated by the criminal prosecution of journalists under now President Akufo-Addo.
“The purpose of repealing the criminal libel law is being defeated by what is happening now,” Suhuyini said on the Key Points on TV3 in relation to the arrest and prosecution of Media General’s Captain Smart, Accra FM’s Bobie Ansah and Civil society activist, Mensah Thompson.
He added “There was a reason why we repealed the Criminal Libel Law. When Haruna Atta [Former Editor of the Accra Mail] was being prosecuted [under the Rawlings administration] it was because they had done a story against the then First Lady.
“So when you hear that Mensah Thompson is being prosecuted for utterances he made that go against the First Family it takes us back to the days of the criminal libel laws.”
Meanwhile, Suhuyini has appealed to the Speaker of Parliament to invite the Chairman of the National Media Commission (NMC) to answer questions relating to recent arrests of journalists.
Making a statement on the floor of the House on Friday February 11, Suhuyini who is a former broadcaster said “Mr Speaker, guided by this provision of the 1992 constitution, and given the growing concerns in our country over the seemingly state involvement because of the characters who represent the state in the harassment and in some cases the detention of media personnel.
” Mr Speaker, in the last couple of days three media personnel are said to have been arrested by state agencies.
“On this note I wish to appeal to the business committee to invite the National Media Commission through the Minister of Information to brief this house on the development on the media front especially in relation to the arrest and detention of Mensah Thompson of ASEPA, Bobie Ansah, and whether or not the National Media Commission is still in the business of protecting press freedoms in this country.”
By Laud Nartey|3news.com|Ghana