"Expect More Arrests If A Comprehensive Framework For Media Isn’t Developed" – NMC Boss
The Executive Director of the National Media Commission, Dr. George Sarpong fears that more journalists would be arrested by the police in the future.
He said the trend will continue if stakeholders in media do not come together to develop a framework that will guide their work.
According to him, there are concerns that the current situation of the arrest of journalists by police may worsen to the extent that the public will get involved to exact justice on journalists.
“We have been anticipating what is happening now for the past two years, and it is going to get worse. What is going to happen that we have to prevent is when ordinary people get involved. I am worried about our lack of appreciation of the context and the idea such that everybody takes a strand of the issue instead of looking at the major factor,” he noted. Dr. Sarpong indicated the need for a comprehensive framework for the media that will guide its operations and save journalists from personal attacks for the content of their programming or comments in their programs.
He made the comment in reaction to fears that the dark days of criminal libel law is returning to Ghana following the arrest of some journalists and social activists and charges of publication of false news slapped on them.
Accra FM’s Bobie Ansah, Power FM’s Oheneba Boamah Bennie, and the Executive Director of the Alliance For Social Equity and Public Accountability (ASEPA), Mensah Thompson have all been slapped with the charge of the publication of false news and offensive conduct. Dr. Sarpong said the developments are “a clear indication of the lack of a comprehensive framework for media.”
“Because we do not have a unified framework for addressing these issues, any time anyone come under media stress the first thing they say is that, within my power, what can I do [to the media]? It is likely to continue to happen unless the bigger issue is addressed,” he added.