As part of measures to maintain peace and harmony in the country, the National Peace Council (NPC) with support from the Danish Embassy and other stakeholders, launched Guidelines on Hate Speech and other form of Indecent Expressions aimed at sanitising the air waves from needless verbal utterances against personalities and tribal, ethnic, religious based discriminations.

NPC referred to Hate speech as degrading, threatening, harassing or stigmatizing speech which affects an individual’s or group’s dignity, reputation and status in society by means of verbal and or visual effects that promote negative feelings, attitudes and perceptions based on characteristics such as ethnicity, race, colour, religion , political, language, gender, disability, sexual orientation, age other opinion.

The Deputy Minister for the Interior, Hon. Naana Eyiah, who launched the document at the National Peace Council, expressed hope that the guidelines will go a long way to consolidate the nation’s peace-building efforts as Ghana approaches the general elections in December, 2024.

‘The 1992 Constitution states clearly that all persons shall have the right to freedom of speech and expression, which shall include freedom of the press among others; and the only time that this right may be revoked is when it is used by an individual to threaten, defame, insult and malign other individuals. This, the Government of Ghana shall uphold and protect to ensure that the peace building efforts of this country is consolidated, she stated.

According to her, hate speech is a growing and an international threat which incites violence and bias in all spheres of life because its scale and impact is now amplified by new communications technologies which must be checked to prevent violence and sustain peace and security in Ghana.

Hon. Naana Eyiah noted that in recent times, the Ghanaian media space has been flooded with language that borders on insult, defamation, and indecency. She added that the internet and social media have made it easier to share information and stay connected which some people are using as channels for expression of hate speech and that some people have turn to using it to insult and defame great personalities in the country.

‘As citizens, we should be each other’s keeper to condemn statements that suggest hate on our media space. This responsibility cannot be left only to Government and state agencies to control. The Media plays a special role of informing the public and publishing views of not only journalists, editors, directors, but also, the views of the public who use the services of the media’, she said.

The Deputy Minister commended the National Peace Council for embarking and taking such a unique initiative to cut down the rate of hate speech in the country. She urged NPC to find innovative ways to ensure that the guidelines are observed by the media and the nation at large.

The Chairman of the National Peace Council, Rev. Dr. Ernest Adu Gyamfi, who delivered the welcome address noted that hate speech contributed to conflicts in Africa. He said hate speech and other forms of negative comments ought to be curbed hence the need for the  guidelines to reduce how people talk and also create awareness so that  Ghana’s peace record can be jealousy guided to protect the nation in its development.