Colonial Origin of Press-Regulatory Laws in Ghana, 1857 – 1957

Bruno Osafo


The press in colonial and post-colonial Africa served as a link between the government and the governed. The press entertained, informed and educated the citizenry on the policies of the colonial government and successive ones. They also held governments accountable to the citizenry and ensured that governments performed their constitutional obligations. The press, however, has had to battle with some laws that were passed by the colonisers. These laws were used to muzzle the press, even though they were originally intended to ensure ‘responsible’ journalism in the country. Using the Ghanaian experience, the researcher traces, chronologically, the origins and application of laws passed to regulate the activities of the press during the colonial era and the impact of their use or abuse on the press.


Libel, Sedition, Contempt, Newspaper Licensing.

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