10 Aug

kuffourFormer President John Agyekum Kufuor says the repeal of the criminal libel law a decade ago in Ghana was one of the best things that ever happened to the country.

According to him, Ghanaians are now expressing themselves freely without fear while contributing to the growth of the country.

The Former President however, advised against the abuse of such a freedom, urging the media, the greatest beneficiary of the repeal to be circumspect in their reportage.

Speaking at a public forum organized by the Media foundation for West Africa to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the repeal of the criminal libel law, ex-President Kufuor said journalist must be guarded by their code of ethic

“Since 2000, when the law was passed, our country has been put on a pedestal that compares favourably with even first-world countries. With the speed at which the world is moving, no one person would be able to advocate the causes that media, as organized as you are, would be able to advocate and so we need you.

“But every media house or broadcasting company must have a code of ethics and regulatory system to ensure that the practitioners exercise their freedom of expression with a high sense of responsibility”.

Vice President, John Dramani Mahama who chaired the forum also expressed worry over irresponsible journalism which he says undermines the country’s peace.

He called for an improved training program for Journalists to enable them to report professionally.

“You need to qualify to practice as a lawyer or a doctor and without a certificate; you could end up in jail. With journalism, you may not need any form of training and honestly, some of the best journalists are not even properly trained.

“Such skill would even be better if journalists were properly trained thus training is very essential.

“The way to go is not to go back to criminalizing speech, it is to promote self-regulation. It is important for players in the media landscape to enforce ethics, advocating fairness, truth and accuracy”.

The criminal libel law was expunged from the statue books of Ghana on the 9th August 2001 by the erstwhile NPP administration led by former President Kufour.

It ushered the country into an unprecedented environment of media freedom and freedom of speech.


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Posted by on 10 August, 2011 in POLITICS


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