Legal practitioner, Martin Kpebu has called on the government to repeal Section 208 in the Criminal Code of the 1992 constitution which deals with the publication of false news.

According to him, the use of that legislation is no different from the criminal libel law which was repealed in 2001.

Speaking on JoyNews’ PM Express, Monday, Martin Kpebu said it was surprising that President Akufo-Addo, a human rights lawyer who in 2001 had campaigned for the repeal of the criminal libel law, would introduce such legislation to cull free speech.

He described the recent state prosecutions of activists and journalists for alleged libelous offenses as a criminalization of speech.

“By the President leading the charges for the repeal of the criminal libel law, we had drawn a line under the sun trying to say that for us we’ll use civil means to deal with the excesses of journalists. And that is what the President himself had been railing and railing for.

“So it beggars belief that today he’s superintending over us and yet the criminalisation of speech is flourishing with reckless abandon. Oh yes, between last week and this week, you’ve seen the number of cases. So that’s the big contradiction that we shouldn’t allow to fester.

“He led the charges for the repeal of the criminal libel law because he wanted to use a civil means of dealing with the excesses of journalists and that is the trending practice in advanced democracies,” Martin Kpebu explained.

He, thus, called for an end to the use of the law, and a decriminalisation of speech in the country due to its regressive nature.

“So the use of this section 208 about publication of false news we have to stop, then otherwise it becomes the value is the same, whether we repeal criminal libel law or not the value is the same. It’s a shame. So like they say the goat dance, you take four steps forward and take two backwards,” he said.