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Comments of Montie 3 'hate speech' – Elizabeth Ohene

Gifty Ohene Veteran broadcaster Elizabeth Ohene

Thu, 25 Aug 2016 Source: classfmonline.com

Veteran broadcaster Elizabeth Ohene has said the comments made by the Montie 3 for which they were jailed for four months do not constitute free speech but rather hate speech.

Alistair Nelson, Godwin Ako Gunn and Salifu Maase (Mugabe), were found guilty of scandalising the Supreme Court, defying and lowering its authority, and bringing it into disrepute.

Mr. Nelson and Ako Gunn, two radio pundits, threatened to kill justices of the court when they spoke on a political programme called ‘Pampaso’ hosted by Mugabe, as they discussed a case between the PNC’s Abu Ramadan and the Electoral Commission regarding the credibility and sanctity of the register of voters as far as the existence on the role of people who registered with their National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) cards, was concerned.

The two discussants warned the judges to deliver what in their view would be a favourable judgment on the matter or risk suffering the same fate (extrajudicial execution) meted out to three of their forebears in 1982 during the PNDC junta of Flt Lt Jerry John Rawlings.

Sympathisers of the trio have argued that jailing them was a threat to freedom of speech. However, speaking at a symposium in Accra, Ms. Ohene argued that comments to kill were more of hate speech than free expression of one’s opinion.

“There is one section of it I can tell you without reference to any law that there are things that cannot be measured as freedom of speech and a terminology has been developed for it; it is called hate speech.

Threats of killing somebody or raping somebody do not constitute freedom of speech, they do not. We have seen them in their extremities in countries and it has brought a lot of trouble. Let us not delude ourselves that we will be trying to protect anything called freedom of speech by threatening whether it is Elizabeth Ohene or judges of the Supreme Court. In this country, we lived through judges being picked up from their homes and killed so we have a track record, so if somebody says that he knows where people live and when there is trouble he knows where to lead and finish them, it is not freedom of speech,” she stated.

Meanwhile the three contemnors have been granted remission by President John Mahama after serving one month in jail.

Source: classfmonline.com
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