Dear Mr. President,
The Creative Arts Industry is honoured immensely by your continuous support and drive towards making the industry not only profitable but a recognised mainstay in Ghana’s governance structure, and your efforts will forever be etched in the annals of the industry and the country as a whole.
Permit me, Mr. President, to also use this medium to acknowledge the tireless contributions of the ministry and other allied agencies towards streamlining the activities of the creative for it to be become reflective of our rich culture and society.
However, in the midst of the pomp and pageantry, we have become oblivious of some worrying lifestyle trends which have crept into our society and potentially and rapidly destroying the very foundations of our social fabric which we have dearly cherished immemorially.
Mr. President, at the heart of my piece to you, in this solemn mood, is the issue of nudity on social media and indecent dressing and exposure by persons who have clad themselves in the frame of celebrity. My trenchant view on this subject may pierce the core sentiments of human rights persons and some civil society groups but if this issue of indecent dressing and exposure is left to wander in abeyance, we risk threatening the core foundations of our culture and heritage for which you have on many occasions extoled.
CNN recently in one of its tourism reports, described Ghana as one of the nine foremost destinations to visit as tourist attractions in the world. The report earned great reviews from a multi-cultural cross section of persons as the report centred on the rich culture and heritage of the people of Ghana.
And not on how indecently some of our creative arts ambassadors portray on social media and other platforms. The fundamental question is, what makes us unique, our culture or the culture of another country which we blindly and erroneously imitate.
Your Excellency, the cultural and social effects of nudity on social media, indecent dressing and exposure within the creative Arts industry need not be rehashed as we are all too familiar with them. What has invited this discussion however, is the legal effect of this potentially-culturally degenerative act on our society. My apologies, Mr. President, if the diction of this piece arouses certain sentiments but there is no better we to express my opinions on the subject of nudity on social media.
The Criminal Offences Act although sets out punishment for indecent exposure, the provision leaves seems to be the only recognised legal framework on the matter and leaves the rest for policy makers. The concern been driven here, Mr. President, is not censor peoples dress code or infringe on any person’s right but the drive home the need to streamline the Creative Arts Industry to reflect our personality as a nation. Your Excellency, we have reached a pivotal point where we have to make a concerted effort towards addressing the issue of nudity and exposure especially within the Creative Arts industry since they are at the forefront of your policy drive towards revamping the Creative Arts Sector.
A lot of children have access to internet in Ghana and most of these unfortunate behaviours are portrayed on the internet leaving gravely exposed to such acts.
A 2018 DOVVSU report on child sexual abuses attributed some of the factors to indecent dressing by children below the age of 16 which left them grossly exposed to sexual predators! Although that is not a justifiable reason for a person to sexually abuse a child, it highlights to systemic deficiencies within our social and legal framework on improper dressing and exposure. It is advisable to be preventive instead of curative as some harm can be irreparable.
Further, NUDITY ON SOCIAL MEDIA, indecent dressing and exposure offends our customary laws which is a key component of our legal system. Lately we have had the foundations or our customary laws and our legal regime on indecent exposure shook to it barest minimum by leakage of sexually explicit videos and pictures on our internet space, and worryingly, we have become reticent in a quest to haul the culprits before the law and ensure sanity. While this inertia by enforcement agencies continues, many a youth are rapidly being exposed to the vagaries of indecent exposure and to sexual predators. Now, Mr. President, to achieve instant fame within the Creative Arts and internet space, all that one has to do is to dress indecently or provocatively in half-naked attire, or by posting sexually explicit videos online. How have we become so accustomed to acts which aforetime were so abhorrent and customarily unacceptable?
Your Excellency, whether the indecent dressing and exposures is deliberate or not, it does not have space within our legal and social framework. In fact it is against the growth of our tourism industry. In 2017, a Daily Graphic Report on the prospects of Ghana’s tourism revealed that countries such as Morocco and Egypt raked in excess of $6 billion dollars in revenue from their tourism sector, the highest in Africa. And we are all too familiar with the stringent laws of these two countries in terms of nudity and indecent exposure. While we rave about our cultural heritage and tourist sites, the actions of a few persons destroying the very thing we are striving to promote. Whether it is inadequate enforcement or a lack of social and legal regime to enforce them, we are certainly not making headways and leaving ourselves criminally exposed to treacherous individuals exploiting some of our ignorant youths.
The domino-effects need not be reiterated. But what is of core importance in my humble piece to you, Mr. President is, that these indecent dressing and exposures are affronts to other legislations such as the Children’s Act and the Criminal Offences Act.
It allows our young population to be preyed upon, and stretching our prosecutorial and legal enforcement to its limits. No single entity is wholly blameable in this issue, it is rather a collective matter which we have all allowed to fester to such an alarming and almost uncontrollable proportion.
Your Excellency, I submit in my candid write up, that the core of our social, cultural and legal foundations as a people is under immense pressure by the mere reason of indecent dressing and exposure by a cross section of persons whose unfettered actions are gravely destroying our cultural values as a people.
I humbly make this clarion call to you, Mr. President, to use your high office to help frame a social and legal regime to sanitise our tourism and cultural space. We have reached a juncture where we cannot leave such policies to hover around without the needed teeth to bite. I am readily available to assist in any way possible engender the support from some stakeholders to curb the menace of nudity within our tourism and Creative Arts sector. The call is here, and I confidently trust that we will heed collectively towards it.
Solomon Bismarck Arthur
(Popularly known in the gospel industry as Sir Solomon)