Be Responsible; Freedom of Expression Not Absolute – GBA To Media
The Ghana Bar Association (GBA) has reminded the media and Ghanaians that freedom of expression as guaranteed and protected under the 1992 Constitution is not absolute. Thus, the constitution attaches a corresponding and even a greater deal of responsibility and circumspection to freedom of expression, hence the
media and for that matter Ghanaians should not hide behind such a right to violate the legal interests and rights of other citizens and of society or the national interest or public order. Article 12 (2) of the 1992 Constitution states that; Every person in Ghana, whatever his race, place of origin, political opinion, colour,
religion, creed or gender shall be entitled to the fundamental human rights and freedoms of the individual contained in this Chapter but subject to respect for the rights and freedoms of others and for the public interest. The President of the GBA, Yaw Acheampong Boafo said Justice Sophia Akuffo in a case
between CLOSSAG and the Attorney-General and Others further explained Article 12 (2); as follows; Prima facie, constitutional rights and freedoms are to be enjoyed fully but subject to the limits which Constitution itself places thereon, in the terms of Article 12(2)… Mr. Acheampong
Boafo reiterated this point when he addressed the 2022 Bar Conference in Ho. The conference which has over a thousand participants commenced on the Monday, September 12 is expected to end on Friday, September 16, 2022. It is on the theme; Ghana’s Democracy under the Fourth Republic - Gains, Challenges and
Prospects. He explained that freedom of expression is not protected and guaranteed when without justifiable grounds or good faith or honest belief- a person denigrates or casts slurs on the reputations of other persons (defamation); or when words are said in the public or media space to incite people to violence. He
further suggested that management of media houses and hosts of political programs may consider reviewing the kind of persons or panelists they invite unto their shows. Hosts of shows must be proactive and take charge of the discussions to prevent utterances that could unfairly denigrate the reputation of others and even breach the peace and security of this country.