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11.06.2020 General News

Group Cautions Gov’t Against Attempt To Suffocate Freedom Of Expression

By Eric Nana Yaw Kwafo
Group Cautions Gov’t Against Attempt To Suffocate Freedom Of Expression
LISTEN JUN 11, 2020

Free Speech Movement Ghana has cautioned the government against what they say are attempts to suffocate free expression in the country on the back of recent police activities.

According to the Group, they have noticed with grave concern the growing incidences of arbitrary police invitations and in some cases arrests of citizens who express their dissenting views and opinions about the Akufo Addo-led government and its officials.

Last week, the National Chairman of the People’s National Convention (PNC), Mr. Bernard Mornah was invited by the CID for expressing a strong opinion about the possibility of ensuing chaotic situation if the Electoral Commission (EC) does not revise its modalities for the proposed new voters’ register.

Subsequently, ace news broadcaster Kofi Adomah of Accra-based Angel FM was also invited and interrogated by the CID for predicting the 10th Covid-19 address of the President.

This week, the National Security has arrested one Apostle Kwabena Owusu Agyei for threatening to kill the EC Chairperson among many other things.

In a statement from the Free Speech Movement Ghana Group, they have kicked against some of the utterances of the aforementioned individuals but insists that these incidences are attacks on the freedom of speech granted to citizens by the constitution of the Republic of Ghana in accordance with the 1992 Constitution.

“Free Speech Movement sounds a caution to the government to shirk the subtle attempts to suffocate the freedom to free expression as it has the tendency of eroding the gains made so far in the life of our burgeoning democracy”, a statement signed by Kwame Owusu Danso who is the Conveyer has said.

It added, “The closure of media houses is still fresh in the minds of the people of Ghana as it has stifled the media space and rendered scores of people jobless and helpless. It is incredible and amazing that this is happening under the presidency of Nana Akufo Addo who was considered a champion of press freedom and free expression prior to his assumption of office as president of the Republic of Ghana”.

Read the full statement from the Free Speech Movement Ghana below:

9th June, 2020.

For Immediate Release

GROWING INCIDENCES OF ARBITRARY POLICE INVITATIONS AND ARRESTS

The Free Speech Movement has noted with grave concern the growing incidences of arbitrary police invitations and in some cases arrests of citizens who express their dissenting views and opinions about the Akufo Addo government and its officials. We view this as an attack the freedom of speech granted the citizens by the constitution of the Republic of Ghana. Such is the importance of this freedom that a whole chapter of the constitution is dedicated to this fundamental right of the citizenry.

Only last week, the National Chairman of the PNC, Mr Bernard Mornah was invited by the CID for speaking and expressing a strong opinion about the possibility of ensuing chaotic situation if the Electoral Commission does not revise its modalities for the proposed new voters’ register. This invitation was unwarranted and unnecessary. It only served to create unnecessary tension. As if Mr Bernard Mornah’s invitation wasn’t enough, Mr Kofi Adomah a journalist with Angel FM in Accra was also invited and interrogated by the CID for predicting the 10th Covid-19 address of the President. How much more arbitrary could the CID invitations have been? There are also widespread speculations that one popular artists manager by name Bulldog has also been invited by the CID for questioning the professionalism of the Police.

Today, our attention has been drawn to a video circulating on social media and trending on traditional media about a rambostyle operation conducted by the National Security during the arrest of one Apostle Kwabena Owusu Agyei earlier today during a live interview with journalists from Hot fm for threatening to kill the EC Chairperson. Indeed, the proposed new voters register has been a matter of heated debate in hamlet's, homes, offices, palaces and in the street corners over games of draughts and it is not only Apostle Kwabena Owusu Agyei who has expressed strong sentiments against officials of the

EC.

Although we do not agree with the strong words he used in his sermon we know that the state has a right to protect and preserve lives and properties of the good people of Ghana. However, we strongly disagree with the manner in which the said Apostle was apprehended by National Security Officials.

We observed in the video that the gentleman was shown a piece of paper as a warrant for his arrest and without the opportunity to interrogate the document, or have his rights read out to him, he was bundled into a V8 vehicle and driven away with later footage showing him in handcuffs with officers accusing him of having in his possession substances believed to be indian hemp. Chapter 5, Article 12 of the 1992 guarantees every citizen the protection and preservation of their fundamental human rights. Ghana is a nation of rule of law with respect for the preservation of individuals’ rights. These rights did not come on the cheap as people struggled and suffered for it.

As such, Free Speech Movement sounds a caution to the government to shirk the subtle attempts to suffocate the freedom to free expression as it has the tendency of eroding the gains made so far in the life of our burgeoning democracy. The closure of media houses is still fresh in the minds of the people of Ghana as it has stifled the media space and rendered scores of people jobless and helpless. It is incredible and amazing that this is happening under the presidency of Nana Akufo Addo who was considered a champion of press freedom and free expression prior to his assumption of office as president of the Republic of Ghana.

Signed

KWAME OWUSU DANSO

Convener

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