A media campaigner of Press Freedom, Manasseh Azure Awuni, has spoken against the arrest and bail of Accra FM journalist Bobie Ansah for false publication.
Speaking on JoyNews’ Newsfile on Saturday, the award-winning investigative journalist said that Bobie’s blunder on the presidential spouse, Rebecca Akufo-Addo is not criminal.
He said “the Presidential spouse could have sued him for defamation” over his publication instead of getting him arrested.
This comment comes after veteran journalist Elizabeth Ohene wrote a letter to the BBC on their piece on free speech in Ghana.
Narrowing it down to Bobie’s issue, she stated that the BBC shouldn’t have involved Bobie Ansah in their interaction because the kind of journalism he is doing should be taken into account.
In response to this development, the award-winning investigative journalist stated that while he disagrees with some of Bobie Ansah’s statements, the context is that what he did was not criminal.
“So what I am pointing out to Elizabeth Ohene is that it is true this journalist have said something wrong, but the right thing in my view was that whoever felt defamed could have sued. If you begin to use the police, then it will be harassment,” he stated.
He cited himself as a victim of such a lawsuit.
“Samson, I take this seriously because I have been sued six times over published stories. Those who sued me said what I published was false in each of the suits. All the six of them run away from the cases.
“If the current style is to be applied, it means that on six of the occasions I would have been arrested, I would have been put in cells, charged, and if there were no case against me eventually, I would have still suffered some punishment and at least on six occasions. I could have been arrested and put behind bars, and that alone is enough to humiliate a journalist,” he said.
Accra FM journalist, Kwabena Bobie Ansah, was arrested on February 10, at 10 pm, right after his political talk show ended by persons purported to be National Security operatives.
He was also accused of publishing false news on January 1, this year, accusing the presidential spouses of granting themselves “state lands at AU Village, around the Kotoka International Airport for the construction of Rebecca Foundation”.
According to the police, the said presenter further called the First Lady, Rebecca Akufo-Addo, “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”.
However, he was granted a GH¢50,000 bail with two sureties on February 11.