Ato Kwamena Dadzie, news editor of Joy FM, an Accra-based independent radio station, was charged with a criminal offence for refusing to reveal the station’s sources of information on a July 5 news item.
The station had carried report to the effect that an umbrella body of local contractors, Ghana Real Estates Developers Association (GREDA), had been issued death threats to withdraw a petition that it had sent to Ghana’s parliament to oppose a controversial housing deal that the government of Ghana had entered into with a Korean company .
Dadzie told Media Foundation for West (MFWA) that he was charged with “publishing information with the intention to cause fear or harm to the public or to disturb the public peace”, under Section 208 of the country’s Criminal Code of 1960.
The charge followed an interrogation by police personnel drawn from the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police.
Dadzie was expected to appear in court on July 21.
This was the second time that the police had preferred an outmoded charge of “publishing false information” against two citizens this year. On February 18, Nana Darkwa, an opposition sympathizer and radio commentator, was arrested by the police and remanded in prison custody for two weeks over comments he made on a radio station allegedly accusing Ghana’s former President Jerry John Rawlings of setting fire to his (Rawlings’s) own house. The case is in court.
MFWA was sad that the police was using this law which is inconsistent with the 1992 Constitution, which guarantees free expression of citizens and demand that the charge against Dadzie was dropped unconditionally.
MFWA reiterated its call on all supporters of free speech to protest against the use of archaic laws to stifle free speech in Ghana by the country’s police.