First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Joseph Osei-Owusu, says there is no culture of silence prevailing in Ghana
According to him, breaching the law should not be equated to curtailing freedom of speech.
“Sometimes I wonder whether what I read is about the country I live in. In this country where anybody can pick a phone anywhere, put out anything, sometimes complete lies and fabrications?”
“That anybody here in this country has been stopped from talking? If you speak and you breach a law, the law must apply. That should not be equated to curtailing freedom of speech. I don’t see any such evidence in this country.”
Mr. Joe Osei-Wusu made these comments in an answer to a question on media practitioners who have come out to accuse government of presiding over a ‘culture of silence’ because according to them, the climate is different and the tension is not the same as it used to be.
Ghana has also seen a steep decline on the World Press Freedom Index which saw the country move from 3 to 10th in Africa and 30th to 60th in the world.
Speaking on GTV Breakfast Show, the MP for Bekwai Constituency said laws are not made for fun.
“Why do we assume that when we make laws, they are for the fun of it? If you have committed an offence why should you not be called to answer? That’s a different thing from saying I have been arrested because I spoke.”
“I am yet to see evidence saying that because I spoke my mind somebody came after me,” he stressed on Monday, May 23, 2022.
He said the police pick people who breach the law.
The police believe that the content of your speech may breach a law and he [Oliver Barker-Vormawor] has not been kept in jail. He has been sent to court. The court will determine that.”
“We should not permit people to say because of free speech, I can say anything and get away with it. No! I have been attacked, my integrity has been attacked for nothing, insulted for nothing, called a fraudster for what I haven’t done. I have the patience, I have sued and the matter is in court.”
He further added that there should be a distinction between individual actions and state actions.
“People should make a clear distinction between individual actions and state actions. If I take action, don’t ascribe it to the government. That’s what I see happening. You attack somebody, the person responds to you and you say government has. People pick rumours over verifying them and they create a headline. Now I’m running away from granting interviews because of so-called bloggers.”
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