Political think tank, the Alliance for Social Equity and Public Accountability (ASEPA), has filed a complaint at the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service against dancehall artiste, Charles Nii Armah,known, in music circles as Shatta Wale, and his agent, Nana Dope, for false publication of news.
According to ASEPA, the publishing of the false news caused fear and panic and also had the potential to breach public peace.
The complaint was stated in a letter, dated October 19, 2021, to the CID, signed by the Executive Director, ASEPA, Mr Thompson Mensah, sighted by the Ghanaian Times.
According to the letter, on Monday October 18,2021 at 7:00pm, news started making rounds on social media and major traditional media platforms that some unknown gun men had allegedly shot and injured Shatta Wale, (first respondent),leaving him in critical condition and he was receiving treatment at an undisclosed hospital in Accra.
The think tank stated that most media reports made reference to a publication Nana Dope, the (second respondent), had put on his WhatApp status, where they took screenshots of it and published it as the source of the reportage.
ASEPA said: ‘’Section 208(1) of the criminal code, 1960,Act 29 is very clear on publication of false news 208(10). Any person who publishes or reproduce any statement,rumour or report which is likely to cause fear and alarm to the public or to disturb public peace, knowing or having reasons to believe that the statement rumour or report is false is guilty if misdemeanor.”
The group said the second respondent, who is an agent of the first respondent knowingly published a false statement with the support of the first respondent with the intent to deceive the public and caused unwarranted fear and panic, contrary to section 208 of Act 29.
ASEPA said Shatta Wale has huge following in Ghana, mostly young and energetic people, and that the false news could have triggered a reprisal attack from his followers, which could have breached the public peace in excess and with possible causalities.
It noted ‘’That the first and second respondents must be immediately arrested, investigated and put before Court and charged in accordance with the criminal code.’’
According to ASEPA, the failure of the security agencies to act in this matter could lead to unnecessary publications due to reproduction of false news, by entertainers and celebrities with the intent to court public attention to promote their product and must not be encouraged.
BY ANITA NYARKO-YIRENKYI