Despite a growing anxiety about its possibility, the National Media commission says social media will not be shut down during the December 7 general elections.
The Commission’s Executive Secretary, George Sarpong, assured social media users that it has engaged stakeholders in government and has received assurances that a shut-down is ‘not going to happen’.
Already, alternative ways to access some social media platform has been circulating on facebook, Whats App, twitter as users demonstrate uneasiness since a shutdown debate was triggered by the police.
The Inspector General of Police (IGP) John Kudalor floated it last May and said if social media becomes a tool for misinformation on election day, the police will go the Ugandan way.
Voters in Uganda woke up on election day February 19 to find they were unable to access social media platforms – they had been shutdown over government fears that they would be used to spread “lies”.
The NMC says it has taken note of the destructive use of the platform in the name of politics and intends to monitor users.
Mr. Sarpong explained that political posts especially audio-visual content will be checked for truthfulness. It will draw the attention of users not to further circulate inciteful materials or peddle untruths and also caution those who post non-edifying content.
The Commission is of the view that social media represents freedom of expression and a shutdown could infringe on fundamental human rights guaranteed in the 1992 constitution.
President John Mahama has also moved to assure Ghanaians, there will be no blackout of social media on election day.
John Kudalor, since the negative reception to the idea, has moved to cool off apprehensions about the ban but has refused to rule it out.
“So far, so good…whether we will shut it down or not, I don’t want to go there, when we get to the bridge we will cross it but as at now, we have no intention to shut down social media if you continue to be good citizens,” he has said.
There are at least 3.5million Facebook users in Ghana.