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General News of Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Source: GhanaWeb

Social Media will play a bigger role in next elections - NMC

Ghana’s media has been widely commended for its role in the December polls. Many have described the 2016 general elections as ‘the most credible and fair’ reportage since the country adopted constitutional rule in 1992.

However, with over 1.13 billion daily active users, Social Media which also played a major role in informing and news dissemination during the elections is “expected to play an even bigger role” in future elections, the Executive Secretary of the National Media Commission (NMC), Mr George Sarpong, has strongly attested.

“There is no doubt at all that Social Media is going to play a far bigger role in the next elections than it did in this elections.” He said.

An election survey by Media Analyst of the European Union Election Observation Mission Ghana 2016, Petra Jezkova, showed that Facebook and Twitter played a massive role in the updating of the election results.

At an EU Observer mission meeting with editors in Accra on Tuesday December 20, 2016, social media was not only used by a large section of Ghanaians but by presidential candidates for the just ended polls.

The report showed that presidential candidates, including their vice and spouses had engaged in over 10, 000 tweets to keep their followers updated.

Deputy Chief Observer, Mark Stevens, said although many Ghanaians resorted to traditional mediums like radio, television, and newspapers, many people cited social media as the second major news source.

He added that although social media and online portals are rapidly becoming more important, one global trend challenge has got to do with regulation.

“One of the challenges of social media is on the regulatory side…There is an absence of regulation around most social and online media.” Mr Stevens suggested it is an aspect every country should look at solving.

On the other hand, Mr Sarpong recommended social media is an area people in the political fronts should look out for but was quick to add that as regulators, it is the duty of the NMC to keep an eye on how it will be used in order to promote healthy debates and not for hate speech.

The EU EOM observation followed the entire electoral process in Ghana before, during and after voting, including any legal disputes that may subsequently arise. A Final Report will be presented some two months after the announcement of results.