The editor of the state-owned newspaper, Ghanaian Times, has been asked to report to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) headquarters of the Ghana Police Service Thursday for allegedly spreading false news to cause fear and alarm.

The police are expected to question the editor, Enimil Ashon, over Wednesday’s front page story titled Robbers occupy five police buildings.

Director of Public Relations of the police, DSP Kwesi Ofori told Joy News’ Sammy Darko that the story is false and intended to denigrate the service.

He said the content of the story failed to give credence to its headline “and this amounts to false information, trying to create fear in that environment and [the story] has nothing good to tell about the police”.

DSP Ofori said the editor would be required to substantiate the claims that armed robbers are indeed occupying a police building. He said the publication “has dragged the good name of the police service into disrepute”.

He noted that the police administration has a strategic plan in place to renovate 38 abandoned facilities throughout the country.

Asked if the invitation to the editor was not meant to stifle press freedom in the country, he replied: “One thing is that we are not trying to suppress press freedom, we are not trying to do anything inimical against the press.

“But the press has the responsibility to educate and inform, but for a paper like The Ghanaians Times to go all out, and with a headline that portrays falsehood, it is unfortunate.”

Meanwhile, the Editor of The Ghanaian Times, Enimil Ashon, said he has not received any formal letter from the police inviting him as at 6pm on Wednesday.

He however expressed surprise at the way the police administration is treating the issue.

“Our reporter was there and he heard what he heard, and he reported what he heard. If it is not true, the best thing to do is to write a rejoinder to tell us it is not true, but to threaten us with an invitation, it’s preposterous to say the least.”

Mr Affail Monney, Vice-President of the Ghana Journalists Association told Joy News’ Evans Mensah: “Using our knowledge of a media content we realised that the story was in a bad taste. The lead of the story had no connection with the neck of the story. The story was enveloped in a credibility crisis”.

The law on spreading false news to cause fear and alarm has attracted condemnation from civil society groups and press freedom advocates after police Monday said they were slapping the charge on the acting News Editor of Joy FM.

Some have called for its repeal.

Story by Isaac Essel/Myjoyonline.com/Ghana

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