Repeal law that criminalises publication of false news – Kofi Yeboah

General Secretary of the Ghana Journalists Association, Kofi Yeboah is advocating that the law that criminalises the publication of false news should be repealed.

According to him, there are other ways of seeking redress if an individual feels a publication might have damaged his or her reputation.

“I think there are other laws we can apply to address this issue and a person that is aggrieved by a publication of a sort may have recourse to several avenues. You can exercise your right to a rejoinder, you can file a complaint at the NMC which is also a provision in the constitution. You can sue for defamation – defamation can be a punitive thing,” he said.

Speaking on The Law on JoyNews, he explained that matters regarding false news were best handled as civil cases rather than criminal offenses.

“Why wouldn’t we want to go through the civil procedures and even the manner these cases are handled. In the case of Bobie Ansah, it was something against the First Lady. The First Lady can sue for defamation, you don’t need, in my humble view, to apply criminal law,” he said on Sunday.

He continued that the way the law of false publication was applied seemed mischievous, the more reason to review it.

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The General Secretary added that his advocacy was not a license for the media to act irresponsibly. However, he believes the National Media Commission (NMC), the body with the mandate of registering, regulating, and monitoring the media, was best to handle such issues.

When asked which other stringent way individuals could apply in holding media in check since the NMC could not enforce orders, he said “In the case of NMC for example, why would we not consider this popular view that the NMC  should be empowered to enforce its orders,” he said.

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