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News editor charged for "publishing false information"

(MFWA/IFEX) - On July 15, 2010, Ato Kwamena Dadzie, news editor of Joy FM, an Accra-based independent radio station, was charged with a criminal offence for refusing to reveal the station's sources of information for a July 5 news item.

The station had carried a report to the effect that an umbrella body of local contractors, the Ghana Real Estates Developers Association (GREDA), had been threatened with death if they did not withdraw a petition that they had sent to Ghana's parliament opposing a controversial housing deal that the government of Ghana had entered into with a Korean company.

Dadzie told Media Foundation for West (MFWA) that he has been charged with "publishing information with the intention to cause fear or harm to the public or to disturb the public peace", under Section 208 of the country's Criminal Code of 1960.
The charge followed an interrogation by police personnel drawn from the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police. Dadzie is expected to appear in court on July 21.

This is the second time this year that the police have resorted to the outmoded charge of "publishing false information", MFWA noted. On February 18, Nana Darkwa, an opposition sympathizer and radio commentator, was arrested by the police and remanded in prison custody for two weeks over comments he made on a radio station allegedly accusing Ghana's former President, Jerry John Rawlings, of setting fire to his own house. The case is in court.

MFWA is sad that the police are using this law which is inconsistent with the 1992 Constitution, which guarantees the free expression of citizens. MFWA demands that the charge against Dadzie be dropped immediately and unconditionally. MFWA reiterates its call on all supporters of free speech to protest the use of archaic laws to stifle free speech in Ghana.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
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    Nana Darkwa was arrested for allegedly implicating Ghana's former president Jerry John Rawlings in a fire that gutted Rawlings' house.

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    The threat came after journalist Ato Kwamena Dadzie commented on a feud between the Ashanti king and another traditional chief.

Case history


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