Private legal practitioner, Samson Lardy Anyenini, says the recent abuse of pressmen is of concern but journalists must be responsible since they will be made to face the law in case of any breaches.

“Journalists are human beings like anyone else. If the police have a suspicion which is reasonable that a journalist’s conduct is an offence, the police have the right to cause your arrest. There are journalists who are thieves and if they are caught, that should not be a question of human rights being abused,” he said on Friday, on the Super Morning Show.

His comment follows the arrest of Accra FM journalist, Kwabena Bobie Ansah, on Thursday by persons suspected to be National Security Operatives.

The police in a statement released on Friday, February 11, 2022, indicated that the arrest was over an alleged publication of false news and offensive conduct.

They added that it had “became necessary after he turned down several invitations from the Police to him to assist with investigations.”

Reacting to this, the lawyer, who has been an astute advocate of press freedom, acknowledged that although attacks on the press have become rampant under the Akufo-Addo regime, reckless behaviors on the part of journalists, which is gradually increasing, ought to be condemned and checked as well.

He stated that freedom of the press as inscribed in the constitution does not guarantee reckless conduct, hence journalists cannot hide under the pretext of press freedom to misconduct themselves.

“There are excesses particularly being championed on social media and by partisan/political activists who are pretending to be journalists, and we should be clear about that,” he said.

Citing section 207 of the Criminal Offences Act Ghana, which talks about offensive conduct conducive to breaches of peace, he said a person is liable to a jail term of a maximum of three (3) years or he/she can be fined for false publication.

“A person, who in a public place or at a public meeting uses threatening, abusive, or insulting words or behaves with intent to provoke a breach of the peace or by which a breach of the peace is likely to be occasioned, commits a misdemeanour.