Edudzie Tamakloe, lawyer for Accra FM’s journalist, Kwabena Bobie Ansah, is unhappy with the criminal charges pressed against his client over the publication of alleged false news.
The lawyer maintains that the approach being used by the aggrieved parties and the police leading to the arrest of the broadcaster is utterly wrong and baffling.
Speaking to the media, the lawyer said, the parties should have rather sued in a civil case for defamation for the appropriate remedy rather than the criminal turn the case has taken.
“If a journalist makes a publication against you and that publication is false. You have the right to do a rejoinder. So assuming even without admitting that there is a false publication against the First Lady, the way forward is not criminal investigations. If she thinks that she has been defamed as a private citizen, she can sue Bobie and the media house for defamation. Why make it a criminal matter?”
The arrest of the journalist has widely been condemned by various individuals including former President, John Dramani Mahama, who believes the arrest gives credence to what he describes as the “growing criminalization of speech and journalism in Ghana“, under the Akufo-Addo government.
Kwabena Bobie Ansah has been granted a GH¢50,000 bail after he was picked up by police late Thursday night.
He has been charged with the publication of false news and offensive conduct. His bail is with two sureties.
The Kaneshie District Court, where the case was heard on Friday, February 11, 2022, also adjourned the case to March 14, 2022.
According to the facts of the case as presented by the police, Mr. Bobie Ansah on January 1, 2022, accused the First Lady, Mrs. Rebecca Akufo-Addo and the Second Lady, Mrs. Samira Bawumia of granting themselves “state land at AU Village, around the Kotoka International Airport for the construction of [the] Rebecca Foundation”.
According to the writ sighted by Citi News, Mr. Ansah went on further to call the First Lady “a thief and that she has stolen state land around the Kotoka International Airport,” a statement he knew was “likely to occasion the breach of the peace” in the country.
Police are also looking for three persons they believe are complicit in the allegations.
“Investigations so far revealed that the publication by the accused person and his [three] accomplices is false. Efforts are underway to arrest the accomplices to assist in investigations.”
Earlier, some supporters of the journalist picketed at the Striking Force unit of Greater Accra Regional Police Command at Accra Central to demand his release.
An ardent listener of Bobbie Ansah, Adams Mohammed, told Citi News that he is appalled by the “growing trend of intimidation of journalists.”
“I was surprised at the news of his arrest. I think it is unfair. I am here to ensure that he is released.”
Another listener said, “he has done nothing wrong.”