The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) has appealed to Ghana’s Attorney General and Minister of Justice to intervene to end the persecution of journalist Noah Dameh who has been remanded in custody.
The Magistrate Court in Tema on March 30, 2023, remanded for two weeks Dameh, who is the Deputy Station Coordinator of Radio Ada based in Ada in the Greater Accra Region. The journalist is being prosecuted on false publication charges under section 208 of the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29).
Dameh was summoned in May 2022 upon a defamation complaint by ElectroChem Ghana Limited (EGL), a salt mining company based in Ada. The complaint followed a Facebook publication in which the journalist accused the police of abusing the rights of one Benjamin Anim by chaining him to his hospital bed. He also claimed the abuse was on the orders of Daniel Mckorley, the owner of EGL.
In December 2022, the Tema Magistrate Court dismissed the case only for the police to re-arrest Dameh on false publication charges. He was remanded in custody on March 30, 2023, at the request of the prosecutor who said his surety had failed to produce him in court on three previous occasions.
“The MFWA is concerned by the evolution of this case from a defamation complaint, which should have been a civil matter, to criminal prosecution for alleged false publication,” the organisation said in the petition to Ghana’s Attorney General.
The MFWA also said it is dismayed by the Police’s refusal to pursue the officers who allegedly abused Anim, “as opposed to their determined schemes to prosecute the whistleblower.”
“Given that the police are accusing him of false publication, we urge your office to help probe Noah Dameh’s claim that the police abused Benjamin Anim. And if the abuse claim is proven to be true, we demand that the perpetrators are brought to face the law and the charge against the journalist dropped,” the MFWA requested in the petition which was copied to Ghana’s Chief Justice, the Inspector General of Police and the Commissioner, Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ).
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