Dr Vladimir Antwi-Danso, the Dean of Academic Affairs, Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College, has called on security agencies to deal “ruthlessly” with people who create and circulate fake news.
He said security personnel should fully apply the laws of the land and be proactive enough to trace sources of fake news and end such activities before they got out of hand.
In an interview with the Ghana News Agency on Friday, Dr Antwi-Danso, also a security analyst and international relations expert, said fake news could pose serious security threats to a nation and it was time Ghana dealt with the menace.
Fake news threw citizens into a state of confusion and panic, which could create the opportunity for criminals or terrorists to carry out their activities.
Dr Antwi-Danso said in the heat of the confusion created by fake news, people could refrain from carrying out economic activities, with negative consequences on the economy.
He advised the media to be circumspect in their reportage and verify information before publication.
The security expert urged politicians not to fuel the creation and circulation of fake news because same could be used against them.
Reverend Albright Asiwome Banibensu, a Psychologist, said fake news could have adverse effects on people’s thoughts, feelings and behavior.
What one heard, felt or experienced had a huge effect on the mental wellbeing, which may either be processed positively, negatively, or neutrally.
Rev Banibensu, the National Vice President, Ghana Psychological Association (GPA), said irrespective of how good one’s intensions were for creating a hoax, the law would still take drastic actions against such individuals.
Therefore citizens must act in obedience to the laws of the land and think about the consequences before involving themselves in such pranks, he said.
Commenting on the death prophecy by Bishop Stephen Kwesi Appiah, also known as “Jesus Ahuofe” of the New Life Kingdom Chapel, concerning Reggae and Dancehall artiste, Shatta Wale, Rev Banibensu advised ministers of the Gospel to be mindful about how they presented prophetic declarations.
He said the bottom-line was that they must learn how to be merciful, operate with wisdom and speak the truth in love because ultimately, prophecy was supposed to draw people closer to God.
“A prophet should not prophecy to draw attention to himself. The Bible makes it clear in 1 Corinthians 14:32-33 that ‘the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace…’
“To this end, prophecy should not result in chaos but should ultimately result in peace,” he said.