Pass bill against hate speech—Group urges Parliament

The International Association of World Peace Advocates (IAWPA)-Ghana has urged Parliament to pass a bill against hate speech to promote respect and decorum in addressing grievances and sharing opinions.

It noted that the Bill would prohibit the use, production, publishing, distribution, presentation and direction of performance of any audio, visual or written material which was threatening, abusive and involvedthe use of such words to stir hatred.

“A free press is the cornerstone of a democratic society and it is important to protect it because the liberties enjoyed by the citizenry depends also on the freedom of the press,” it said.

The coalition underscored the need for freedom of speech and expression including freedom of the press and may be revoked when it is used by an individual to threaten, vilify, insult and malign other individuals.

At a media briefing to spearhead the campaign, Dr Sam Owusu, the Chairman of the coalition and the Country Director of IAWPA, observed that the vision of the coalition is to bring like-minded people to campaign against hate speech, promote, respect and decorum in addressing grievances and sharing opinions.

He stated that the campaign against hate speech involved raising public awareness, sensitising and educating society about the dangers that hate speech posed to society and however, stressed that when freedoms and rights are left unrestricted there are likely to be abused.

“The exercise of freedom of expression carries with it duties and responsibilities enshrined in the 1992 Constitution all persons had the right to, unfortunately our media space has been inundated with an expression that borders on slander, defamation, and obscenity,” Dr Owusu intimated.

He acknowledged that the internet and social media platforms had made it easier to share information and stay connected but some people were using them as channels for expression of hate speech, resorted to using them to insult and denigrate personalities.

Dr Owusu expressed worry about the phenomenon of hate speech depicting disrespect towards established traditional, political, religious authorities which must be avoided while expressing their concerns and opinions.–

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