Private legal practitioner, Nii Kpakpo Samoa Addo says just because someone is occupying a public office doesn’t mean the person has no right to privacy as such, it is wrong to invade the person’s privacy.
Nii Kpakpo who was reacting to Anas Aremeyaw Anas’ method of gathering evidence for his exposés invoked the wrath of the gathering when he noted that one doesn’t have the right to record the “personal audio visuals” of a public figure.
According to him, “the fact that I occupy a public office does not mean that I don’t have a private life or I don’t have the right to privacy. The issue of privacy here is in respect of the recording of my personal audio visuals, they are personal to me…if you don’t understand that you begin not to learn how to respect the private space of people”.
He added that people affected by such exposés can also go to court to determine how their rights have been violated.
“So long as someone decides that he or she has the right to bring out what you believe to be the wrongs in society, those who are also affected have the right to go to court to see whether what you have published against them or what you accuse them of having done is also in violation of any rights that have been established by the law,” he said.
In a rebuttal, International journalist, Esther Armah stressed that instances like Anas’ exposé wasn’t something the affected people did in their private lives but rather things that “threatens the defense of our democracy”.
“We are not talking about an individual’s right to privacy in their individual lives, we are talking about the ways in which they are threatening the public office through acts that threatens the defense of our democracy. We are not talking about what you are doing in your private life, we are talking about the acts that you’re committing as a public official very often within a specific institution,” she stated.
The two were part of a panel discussion organized by the Africa Center for International Law and Accountability on the topic “Investigative Journalism: The Ethics, Public Interest and The Law”.