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Former president hails historic repeal of criminal libel law

(MFWA/IFEX) - On 10 August 2010, Ghana's former President, John Agyekum Kufuor, said that history had vindicated his government for the repeal of the criminal libel and sedition laws that were used to jail journalists and political opponents.

Addressing journalists and media executives at a gathering to mark nine years of the repeal of the law, President Kufuor hailed the decision saying: "We haven't regretted it at all. We believe quadrupling of investments within months of the repeal is ample testimony that we did a good thing."

The forum was organised by the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) to provide a platform for President Kufuor to offer his experiences during his eight-year rule dealing with a media without the criminal and sedition laws.

The forum, under the theme of "Government-Media Relations in a Developing Democracy", was also held to announce a national conference slated for 2010 on repressive laws such as "publishing false news with intent to cause fear or harm to the public or to disturb the public peace", as stated in Section 208 of the country's Criminal Code of 1960.

The former Ghanaian leader said "Ghana has become the beacon of hope for the rest of the world, which is why we need to nurture our teething democracy through good governance and exemplary leadership".

He advised the media, often referred to as the fourth estate, to reciprocate this gesture of the executive by upholding high journalistic standards.

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