Friday, January 22, 2021

Should Speech Be Criminalized?

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QUESTION OF THE DAY

The arrest of Lamin Manjang has again raised the question as to whether speech should be criminalized. Mr Manjang was arrested on suspicion that he uttered statement posted in WhatsApp.

President Barrow in his manifesto stated the following:

“The provisions of Chapter Four of the Constitution protect our fundamental rights and freedoms, but certain laws some of which were enacted since the colonial period contravene the best practice in safeguarding these rights. It is as if the Constitution is giving rights to its citizens and other laws are ousting those rights.

a) The Coalition Government endeavours to propagate legislation to revoke all provisions of law criminalising speech including libel, sedition, false news and false publication within six months of assuming political office.”

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It is now almost three years since the Barrow administration took over but these laws are not only still in place; in fact, they are being applied.

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