Use law to resolve issues with journalists, don’t resort to arrests – Bagbin advises police

Use law to resolve issues with journalists, don’t resort to arrests – Bagbin advises police

The recent arrest of some media practitioners has been a source of worry to Speaker of Parliament Alban Bagbin.

He said that the era where members of the press are detained over allegations of false publications are long gone and should not be entertained.

Mr Bagbin while commissioning the Parliamentary Press Corps Centre, advised the police to use the appropriate quarters to resolve such issues.

“If the writings of journalists affect people, they know what to do. Do they have recourse to the law? These are civil matters; they are not criminal. I am not for the moment holding brief for the unprofessional conduct of journalists. There is a cure for it in our current legal regime. The increasing tendency on the part of the police to arrest journalists for what they describe as mistakes is old-school, it’s anachronistic. It is sending this country into the dark ages of media persecution.”

Four journalists and activists have been apprehended by the police within three weeks, over allegations they made on radio or on social media, which according to the police are false.

Some of the journalists who in recent times have been found on the wrong side of the law include; Accra FM’s Bobie Ansah, Power FM’s Oheneba Boamah Bennie, and the Executive Director of the Alliance For Social Equity and Public Accountability (ASEPA), Mensah Thompson who were all slapped with the charge of the publication of false news and offensive conduct.

The actions of the police have sparked conversations as to whether Ghana has once again entered the dreaded era of criminal libel where media practitioners are arrested over the publications of their work.

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