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Jailing Media Personnel Is Opening a Door That Leads To a Yawning Abyss

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Editorial (The Daily Searchlight, Wednesday, 9th February, 2022)


An Accra High Court presided over by Justice Elfreda Dankyi has sentenced a radio presenter with Power 97.9 FM Oheneba Boamah Bennie to 14 days in prison.

Radio XYZ reported that the court also fined the Power FM broadcaster GHC 3000 on Tuesday (8 February).

In her ruling, Justice Elfreda Dankyi held that Oheneba Boamah was guilty of the charge against him and that she was charitable with the sentence.

“I have been magnanimous,” the Justice stated when counsel for Boamah, Victor Kojoga Adawudu prayed the court to be charitable.

Oheneba Boamah Bennie of Power FM was in December 2020 detained by the police over a series of threats against President Akufo-Addo.

There is no doubt at all, that some journalists and presenters and personalities in Ghana who would like to be classified as impartial arbiters of our society, are in actual fact guerrilla soldiers for partisan political interests.

It is also a fact that quite often, many of these so-called journalists and presenters go overboard or are deliberately malicious in their presentation of news and views. They present opinions and views that are deliberately malicious and with the highest intention of provocation.

But right from 1993, when Ghana decided to experiment with democracy, we realized that there would be warts, among them guerrilla fighters hiding as journalists. We realized that even though we did not want this, it came with the terrain.

We believe that it is necessary, that political leaders develop extreme tolerance and magnanimity, and that they behave as if these nuisance personalities are fleas, to be waved aside and ignored, no matter how hard they buzz.

Jailing media people should be a ‘not not not’. It would only create long-lasting animosity in our body-politic.

We hope that the jailing of this radio presenter, would be the absolute last time the Attorney-General of Ghana deploys state resources in pursuit of jail terms for people exercising speech.

If people in power believe that they have been maligned, they should avail themselves of the civil powers, available to every other Ghanaian. Using state resources to criminalize speech in protection of any agency or individual, is stepping on the dangerous edge of intolerance.

(This editorial was initially published in the Daily Searchlight, of Wednesday, 9th February, 2022. The Daily Searchlight is available for sale on newsstands throughout Ghana and worldwide 24 hours a day on www.ghananewsstand.com.) 


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