Ghana: Publication of fake news leads to two lawsuits

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The Accra Circuit Court has granted bail of GH¢20,000 with two bails each to a blogger and an information technology (IT) professional for an alleged false post that caused panic bank withdrawals from dollar account holders.

This followed the arrest of the accused by police after investigating a report by the Bank of Ghana alerting them to the publication, which the BoG said had caused fear and alarm in the public and resulted in panic withdrawals from banks.

Jeffrey Eppirim Nyame, the blogger has been charged with publishing false news while Jeremiah Kobina Egyebeng, the IT professional, his alleged accomplice faces the charge of complicity. Both pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The court presided over by Ms. Rosemary Baah Torsu has set the next hearing for December 29 this year, when the prosecution is expected to file all disclosures.

Prosecuting Chief Inspector Richard Amoah told court police that he gathered cyber intelligence from social media indicating that on October 27, 2022, Nyame posted an article on his news portal called reportghana.net captioned: “Dollor account holders will get cedi at BOG rate for bank withdrawals from 31 October?” and shared on various WhatsApp groups and social media platforms causing fear and panic among the general audience.

During investigations, Chief Inspector Amoah said it was established that Egyebeng originally set up the news portal for Nyame called reportghana.com in 2019 which was used to publish similar articles , but was shut down by Google for violating their Community Standard due to complaints. received from users.

“However, Egyebeng again created a similar news portal, but this time changed the domain from “dot com” to “dot net” and registered it under reportghana.net on February 11, 2022 for use. for publishing articles and events in Ghana.

“After posting the said fake news, Nyame then shared the post on WhatsApp group platforms including ‘reportghana news feed 1’, ‘reportghana news feed 2’, ‘reportghana news feed 3’ with over 160 active members of which he was the administrator with his personal phone numbers 0551993013 and 0574144388 registered on the platform,” he told the court adding that the news was still circulating on social media.

Chief Inspector Amoah said Nyame admitted to publishing the alleged fake news but said he got the article from mynewsgh.com but the investigation established otherwise and confirmed Nyame was the author and publisher.

Chief Inspector Amoah said that Egyebeng admitted to the creation of the news portal managed and used by Nyame.

He added that further investigation revealed the involvement of others involved in the post who were currently at large and efforts were underway to arrest them.

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