General News Tue, 1 Jun 2021

I prefer boisterous even reckless media, to a supine one – Akufo-Addo

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has insisted that he is one of the most criticized public figures in the country but that should not in any way hinder media freedoms in the country.

Speaking at a meeting of African editors held at the Alisa Hotel in Accra, the president reiterated the positives of the repeal of the Criminal Libel Law describing it as a boost for journalism practice.

“It (the repealed law) has contributed to the growth of a vibrant media that has won Ghana the reputation of having one of the most media friendly and liberal climates on the continent.

“It has also contributed significantly to the deepening of democracy in our country, enhancing public accountability as a strategic goal of public policy.

“Even as one of the public figures most persistently vilified in sections of the Ghanaian media, who ironically was the principal actor in the repeal of the law, I continue to insist that its repeal was necessary in the public interest in our emerging democracy.

“I maintain that I prefer a boisterous even reckless media to a supine one,” he stressed.

About the Criminal Libel Law:

On Friday 27 July 2001, Ghana’s third parliament unanimously repealed the Criminal Libel and Seditious Laws, which had been used to incarcerate a number of journalists prior.

The repeal followed the passage of the Criminal Code (Repeal of the Criminal and Seditious Laws – Amendment Bill) Act 2001 by a unanimous vote in the House.

The amendment meant that any person accused of committing an offence under the repealed sections will be discharged with all proceedings before the courts on the same sections ceasing.

The new government at the time - the John Agyekum Kufuor administration had promised before the general elections of December 2000 that it would repeal the law to allow for greater freedom in the country.

The pledge was reaffirmed on 7 January when Kuffuor was sworn into office, during which he said that the Criminal Libel Law would be “amended to expand the boundaries of freedom.”

The last stage of the debate on the bill was marked by a rare agreement in parliament on issues that affect the media.

In presenting the memorandum on the bill in parliament, then Attorney General Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo said, “the purpose of the bill is to fulfill the promise of repeal and thereby demonstrate the government’s determination to make good its promise to the nation.”

In comments made after the passage of the bill, the then president of the Ghana Journalists Association, Gifty Affenyi-Dadzie, commended the government for repealing the law. She also thanked both sides of the parliamentary divide for the repeal since the old law “was inconsistent” with the 1992 Constitution.
Source: www.ghanaweb.com
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