Few months ago, I published an article titled ‘What You Say On Twitter Can Constitute Defamation’ which looked at various individuals who have had to pay huge compensations through their noses for certain short tweets.
I followed that article with another piece ‘What You Say On Twitter Can Now Fetch You A Criminal Liability-A Prison Sentence’. Citing how an English Court convicted Paul Chambers, 27, for sending out a tweet, threatening to blow up a Yorkshire airport in May, 2011, I explained how his tweet was seen by the court as constituting a “menacing electronic communication”.
I mentioned in all the above articles that, it is free to join any of the social media platforms out there but it is not legally free to say whatever you want on there. You can be easily cropped out from the lot if you find yourself at the road side of the law. It is therefore prudent to be careful on what you tweet or write on Facebook, instagram and on any other social media platform.
Today, I have decided to look at how ridiculously certain Ghanaian Celebrities have in the past claimed to have a right to privacy after they have tweeted photos which have later been published by blogs such as GhanaCelebrities.Com and other media platforms.
Almost each week, GhanaCelebrities.Com gets a celebrity calling us to request that a photo we have published of herself be taken down and whenever we ask for the grounds upon which such a request is being forced through, we are always told; ‘that is my photo and I did not give you permission to publish it or that is a breach of privacy’.
After speaking to several Ghanaian Celebrities on the use of social media, I have come to realize that most of them do not understand the basic laws governing the use of these platforms.
Legally, breach of privacy is a difficult doctrine and the Courts have made it worse with their inconsistent decisions…
However, what I think is well established and ought to be recognised by all Ghanaian Celebrities using various social media platforms is that; tweeting your photo or sharing your photo on instagram is legally considered as a PUBLICATION.
The moment you voluntarily publish your photos on the worldwide wide which is accessibly by all, you loose your right to privacy claims on those photos-even if you still maintain such right, it diminishes in its strength.
After publishing your photo online by tweeting it, what stops another person or media platform from re-publishing it as long as the photo is used fairly?
It is time our Ghanaian Celebrities realize that, tweeting is another form of publication and therefore the best way to have your privacy protected by the law is; NOT TO TWEET or publish a photo that you do not want others to re-publish.
The social media has become a common tool used by celebrities all around the world but it seems most of our Ghanaian Celebrities are plainly uninformed of the legal repercussions of the usage of these platforms.
Mind what you say or tweet…If you do not want others to republish something, do not publish it at all.
Law & Celebrity is a column on GC which focuses on how the law affects our celebrities, their lifestyles, new media, entertainment, etc.
Chris-Vincent Agyapong Febiri, who will be looking at these issues holds a degree in Law (LLB), Diploma in Para Legal and also has extensive knowledge and interest in celebrity lifestyle & social media.