Politicians are likely to end up in jail if they make tough laws to combat corruption. Likewise, people calling for the criminalisation of fake news are the same people to be charged with fake news.
The giant media houses are doing all what they can to tag bloggers as publishers of fake news as the online space has become very competitive with most bloggers taking over the media space from these big media houses.
Abeiku Santana described a blog as “not credible” after a blogger published a fake news while ‘his own’ Peacefmonline publishes fake news too.
Joy FM discussed fake news on the Ghana Connect show and went ahead to publish fake news on MyJoyOnline.com few minutes after the show.
The host of the show Evans Mensah repeatedly spread fake news while discussing fake news. He said several times that Kenya has passed an anti-fake news law and discussed with the panel if Ghana could do same.
Right after the show, MyJoyOnline also published the discussion and stated that bloggers or publishers found guilty of Kenya’s anti-fake news law could be fined as much as $50,000 dollars and jailed for up to two years. This is a lie.
There’s currently no laws criminalising fake news in Kenya. The Computer Misuse and Cyber Crimes Act was suspended by Kenya’s High Court after the Bloggers Association of Kenya filed a petition that raised major concerns about the effect of the Act on the right to freedom of expression and information online.
Interestingly, the Ghana Connect host and panel encouraged journalists to research and verify information before sharing through various blogs for media platforms. Meanwhile the show was discussing a subject without enough research.
Thousands of Ghanaians who listened to the show and read the article online have been served with fake news despite the article itself talking about fake news. A little research by the host and writer would have saved them from spreading false information.