Member of Parliament for Ningo Prampram, Sam George, says that the Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill (Anti-LGBTQ Bill) does not infringe on the rights of the media and media freedom as enshrined in the constitution.

Speaking on Newsfile on Saturday, he stated that there had been an amendment to the Anti-LGBTQ bill before it was passed that ensures that the media can exercise the right to inform and educate as stated in chapter 12 of the constitution.

“Now clause 10 (of the bill) says prohibition of propaganda of, promotion of and advocacy for activities prohibited under this Act….. Now what we then did was to introduce ‘subject to the provisions of the constitution’ ….. that was the phrase,” Sam George explained.

He noted that the phrase ensures that the media can carry out their work without fear. He added that just as the media does not advocate and disseminate material on anything the law has deemed criminal, including crimes like money laundering, same applies to this act.

Sam George said “There’s a difference between an editorial and advocacy. The media can have an editorial on money laundering. So it’s different to do an editorial on the dangers of LGBTQ, or violence even against that community, extrajudicial violence against that community.

“You (the media) can very well do an editorial on that, but that editorial policy and discretion, the Chapter 12 – Rights in the Constitution – do not give you (media) the power to then begin to advocate for it,” he told the host, Emefa Apawu.

The Ningo Prampram MP, one of the key sponsors of the bill, said that by introducing the phrase ‘subject to the provisions of the constitution’ the media is assured of their protection and their right to inform.

This comes after parliament’s passage of the Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill, popularly known as the Anti-LGBTQ bill, was met with mixed reactions.

Among other things, the Bill punishes those who take part in LGBTQ sexual acts, as well as those who promote the rights of gay, lesbian or other non-conventional sexual or gender identities with time in prison.

Although a section of the public has welcomed the bill, others including CHRAJ, some CSOs and other international bodies have expressed disappointment with some raising concerns about media freedom.

But Sam George insists that the provisions in the bill do not impose a cap on the media or gag them.

However, the Chairperson of the Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), Professor Audrey Gadzekpo, believes that the bill is “flawed and unconstitutional” and has potential repercussions for the country’s democracy.

Prof Gadzekpo emphasised that every bill must conform to the constitution and constitutional provisions, arguing that the CSOs having gone through all the clauses of the bill, and “We think fundamentally, it does not conform to the constitutional provision.”