‘Give Ghana More Time To Deliberate’ – CDD Opposes Telecommunication Messages Bill

Like other groups which have raised concerns on the new Telecom Messages Bill, the Centre For Democratic Development (CDD) has recently expressed its dissatisfaction over the Interception of Postal Packets and Telecommunication Messages Bill, especially the short time frame which has been given for its deliberation.

Parliament published a notice soliciting for input for the draft legislation.The deadline for the submission of views from the public is today being, February 19.

The National Security could have the legal right to tap, listen, record, monitor the telecommunication messages of the public if it succeeds in getting the bill passed into law.

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But frowning at the time frame which has been given, the CDD has urged the government to allow for more time for the public to deliberate on the issue, as the time which has been allotted is too short.

Dr. Franklin Oduro, the Head of Research and Programs at CDD, said there were a lot of intricacies surrounding that bill and that more time is really needed for the public to familiarize with the possible outcome of the Telecommunication Messages bill.

…If the state of Ghana is going to enact a law that will allow the state and its agencies the authority to intercept and scrutinize communication and mails, it also suggests that the privacy of citizens will be undermined. If the privacy of the citizens, which our constitution guarantees, is going to be undermined, then any such law should have adequate time for public discussions so that people will know that at some point the state of Ghana would have the right to intercept their mail,” he said.

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There had been controversies equally among the minority Members of Parliament (MPs) concerning the bill. The MPs raised issues over the concerns about invasion of privacy, which is a possible infringement of the constitutional provision on privacy. Also the concerns of confidentiality agreement between Telecom service providers and their customers, and equally that of security were raised  by the minority MPs.

The CDD has pleaded for more time for the country to come in terms with this new development.

We think that the five-day notice for such an important law is too short. That is why we are calling on Parliament to provide adequate time for discussing the bill. More importantly, they should publicize the bill so that we can see what is in it,” Dr. Oduro added.

Ghana is really hoping the parliament heeds to their demands.