The Ghana Police Service has rubbished claims that it is currently criminalizing free speech and breaching the fundamental law that guaranteed the freedom of speech.
Some lawyers and social commentators have argued that they (Police) have no power to criminalize free speech.
Others have also asked them to spend their limited resources on going after armed robbers, corrupt public officials, and those who endanger our lives on the roads with their reckless driving.
But reacting to these assertions, Public Relations Officer for the Service Superintendent Alexander Kofi Obeng said although the constitution guarantees freedom of speech when you make false statements, it is criminal.
He said, individuals, must be responsible and stop overstepping their boundaries in making reckless and unfounded claims.
He reminded the public to be guided by the laws and avoid publishing false news since that would amount to a breach of the law and those involved would be punished.
Speaking on Frontline on Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm, he referenced the Criminal Code Section 298 saying, we (Ghanaians) have established a law that bars people from publishing false news since that is a criminal offence.
He explained that “the Constitution guarantees freedom of speech but you have no right to peddle falsehood. If you do, that is a criminal offence and the law will deal with you”.
He told host Kwabena Agyapong that “the Police is not criminalizing speech. We are preventing people from breaching the law. We must be circumspect in what we say. We have the responsibility to provide evidence to whatever you say. If you fail to do so, you would have to face the law”.