In the early hours of Tuesday, 30th October, 2018, it emerged online that a lady, reported to be a writer for a blog known as GHSplash had published a story about famous Ghanaian actor, Kwadwo Nkansah, popularly known as Lilwin.
Lilwin was alleged in the purported story to have knocked down someone at the premises of Peace FM. The publication of the story caused the apparent arrest of the lady. In a video captured by UTV, popular broadcaster, Abeiku Santana, interviewed the blogger alleged to have put out the story. Abeiku further described the website as not credible solely because of the said story published about Lilwin. The lady was subsequently handcuffed embarrassingly.
Watching the video, a reasonable discernment that can be made is that the lady was clearly subjected to utmost embarrassment. This is patently an act aimed at fostering shackles of intimidation within the media space.
It is not contestable that some bloggers put out fabricated stories which are capable of injuring the reputation of public figures. The public figures are human – they are subject to vulnerability and susceptibility. It is therefore understandable that they make an induction into an aggrieved state, when fabricated or inaccurate attributions are made to them.
However, the little I know is that the Criminal Libel Law in our penal codes was repealed in Ghana in the year 2001. This primarily means that a libelous act is not an act of criminality. Resorting to a criminal procedure against a tortfeasor by an aggrieved person is unlawful.
The repeal of the Criminal Libel Law does not however mean that any person whose reputation has been injured has absolutely lost the avenues for seeking redress. An aggrieved person can resort to a civil procedure to seek redress against a tortfeasor.
If Lilwin believes his reputation in the estimation of right thinking members of the society has been lowered, he can sue the lady for damages for committing the tort of defamation and not apparently providing something of value to the police to subject the lady to unjustified and unbridled embarrassment.
It was also despicable seeing Abeiku Santana being used as an agent of intimidation in the spectacle. He has no moral right to have been engaged in the role he played – this is someone who was recently condemned for maliciously overseeing a false publication about actress cum presenter, Jocelyn Dumas. Today he condemns someone over falsehood?
I would agree that bloggers have to be circumspect in their reportage. Public figures/celebrities must however resort to the appropriate means to seek redress against media personnel who put false representations about them. Celebrities must also cloth themselves with a considerable level of insensitivity. Electing to be in the public space is associated with some hazards – being injured with fabrications is one of such hazards. Sometimes, you just have to ignore some of these stories and remain focused.
By Seth Mireku,