- His comment comes after the Ghana police arrested some individuals for exercising their displeasure on national issues.
- The former President John Mahama has in an open letter to President Nana Akufo-Addo condemned what he described as “growing criminalisation of speech and journalism in Ghana.”
- "I said here the last time, I’ve lived through all the coups, from childhood to adulthood, it has not been a nice event. Nobody should even think about it because it won’t help us. The situation we’re in today will be 10 times worse if there’s a coup."
Kwame Jantuah, a private legal practitioner has categorically mentioned that the art of speaking freely in any dispensation comes with responsibilities.
His comment follows the arrest of some individuals including media practitioners by the Ghana police for allegedly spreading false news and also inciting the army.
Oliver Mawuse Barker-Vormawor
The police picked up social media activist and convenor of pressure group #FixTheCountry, Oliver Mawuse Barker-Vormawor, for allegedly stating that he would stage a coup in Ghana if Parliament passes the E-Levy bill.
“If this E-Levy passes after this cake bullshit, I will do the coup myself. Useless Army!” Barker-Vormawor said in one of the posts.
He is expected to be put before court on Monday (14 February).
Kwabena Bobie Ansah’s arrest
Kwabena Bobie Ansah, a presenter with Accra FM was arrested for publishing false news, police have said.
A statement issued by the police on Friday (11 February) said his arrest became necessary after turning down several invitations from the police to assist with the investigation.
Freedom with limitation
Speaking on The Forum on Asaase Radio on Saturday (12 February), Jantuah said reckless speech has the potential of instigating unrest and therefore, the need for every freedom of speech to come with limitations.
He said: “Barker-Vormawor is a constitutional lawyer and he should know better, shouldn’t he? And we talk about free speech, free speech comes with responsibility. You don’t just get up and say things and just walk free because “free speech”, comes with responsibility and limitations.
“…And the thing about it is that it’ll instigate others who want a leader or somebody to help them run that cause. I said here the last time, I’ve lived through all the coups, from childhood to adulthood, it has not been a nice event. Nobody should even think about it because it won’t help us. The situation we’re in today will be 10 times worse if there’s a coup.”
Mahama’s open letter, which was posted on Facebook said: “This is a dangerous blueprint you are fashioning for our dear nation and it must not be encouraged. Your actions as President have totally discredited your self-acquired accolade as a human rights lawyer and activist. Ghana has long emerged from the unfortunate past where journalists were cowed by incarceration and brutalization.
“I fear that if you do not take immediate action to arrest this unfortunate trend, when you exit the high office of President in January 2025, freedom of speech and free media will certainly not be counted as part of the legacy you leave behind.”
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