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General News of Monday, 4 March 2019

Source: Myjoyonline.com

What the law says: Leaked NDC audio - When can privacy be breached lawfully?

The National Democratic Congress’s Communication Officer, Sammy Gyamfi, says the state is behind a widely-circulated secret recording of an alleged National Democratic Congress (NDC) meeting. He insists the state is acting in breach of the rights to privacy of the NDC.

The government, through the Minister of Information, has denied the allegation.

The questions of law are: To what extent is the right to privacy of communication guaranteed under Ghanaian laws? Under what circumstances can these rights be lawfully violated – and assuming the contents of the tape are confirmed – would they fall under these circumstances?

The following are the views of law lecturer Justice Srem-Sai on the subject. He is Executive Fellow at the Institute of Law & Public Affairs (ILPA) and Lecturer at GIMPA Faculty of Law.

The general rule

The Constitution grants us a right to privacy in a manner that is comparable to any leading democracy. Article 18(2) of the 1992 Constitution tells us that “no person shall be subjected to interference with the privacy of his home, property, correspondence or communication …”

This provision is powerful because it assures us that the things we say or do in private and which we intend to remain private will not be made public.

But even most importantly, the provision tells us that should anyone, be it an agent of the State or a private person, breach our privacy, the State is obliged to deal with that person in a manner that will restore our injury. This is the general position of the law.