Media freedom and laws

MonnieFreedom, it is said, comes with responsibility, and abused freedom posses danger to the very society it needs to protect.

Often, in their zeal to break the news, journalists and media organisations cross the line by violating professional ethics, resulting in infringements on the rights of others.

Some are often caught in the dilemma of whether to violate the rights of an individual and publish articles that serve the interest of the larger society, or respect the individual’s rights, such as the right to privacy, and keep the society in the dark.

Whatever the situation may be, there are media laws and code of ethics that has to be followed to resolve such dilemmas.

Unfortunately a number of media houses and journalists continue to disregard the code of ethics and laws, giving rise to calls for responsible journalism, and a strong government control of the media.

It is in this vein that that the publication of Abu Issa Monnie’s book, “Media Freedom and Laws,” comes in handy to serve as a reminder of the need for media practitioners to respect the laws and ethics so as to be professional.

Media Freedom and Laws, best described as a one-stop-shop for all media related regulations, is a comprehensive compilation of all laws and code of ethics regulating media freedom regarding free speech expression and independence of the media.

The Preface of the book indicates that purpose of compiling the books is to provide a clear and straight forward account of Ghanaian media laws to media practitioners and students.

That aim, was rightly achieved as the author chronologically outlines the laws in two parts.

Part one focuses on free speech, expression and independence of the media, as it delves into Freedom of Expression and the 1992 Constitution, Repeal of the Criminal Law of Libel and Sedition by Act 602, Limitation and Restrictions on media freedom, speech defense provisions, defamation, as well as the Whistle Blowers Act.

The second part deals with the laws mandating media and communication regulatory institutions such as the National Media Commission, National Communications Authority, Electronics Transactions Act and the National Information Technology Agency.

The arrangement of the subjects makes easy and enjoyable reading since it in a way provides the history of the journey of the media in Ghana.

However, the absence of page numbering accompanying the subjects on the content page makes referencing difficult, and it is hoped that the second edition would make amends.

Irrespective of that, the compilation serves as a quality reference book that comes handy in dealing with media issues, and bridges the gap between journalism theory and practice.

It is highly recommended to media practitioners, journalism students, legal practitioners and students, social commentators and the general public.

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