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Opinions of Sunday, 24 July 2016

Columnist: Alex Tackie

IGP’s ban threat proves our lack of understanding of social media

So yesterday on my way home back from work, I overheard on the evening news that the Inspector General of Police; John Kudalor has reiterated his decision to BLOCK all social media platforms during election day.

In as much as I was marveled at the low understanding of what social media represents and the good it can do from the IGP, I wasn’t so surprised at the same time.

This is the head of a state security agency that first of all has little or no representation and participation on social media in the first place.

Now delving into the matter at hand, the inspector general of police cited that “he fears social media if allowed on election day will disrupt the process” with his major point being that ” if people are churning out information which are quiet false, then its necessary.

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Inspector General, respectively I agree with you strongly when you say the security and peace of this nation is PARAMOUNT, No doubt. but I would vehemently disagree with you and your comrades if you think BLOCKING social media on election day is a prudent and pragmatic measure to ensure a peaceful and fair elections.

If we following the Inspector General’s analogy, then it means media in its entirety should be BLOCKED, not just social media. Would that be legal in the first place ? I’m asking.

Would it be infringing on the rights of citizens when it comes to their right to information? Groups and Organizations like Blogging Ghana have declared their intentions and commitment to liaising with the Ghana Police Service on training programs and sessions to help inform personnel to better understand SOCIAL MEDIA in the build up towards the elections, but the POLICE SERVICE have proven time without number that they are not ready to keep themselves abreast with the latest trends which should be a major cause for concern.

Instead of entirely condemning and BLOCKING social media, why don’t you use it as a tool to promote peace before, during and after the electoral season.

Social Media is like FIRE. It can be a bad master but also a good servant.

Facts even prove that about only 20 – 30 % of Ghanaians are actively on social media, not to downplay the harm it might cause.

I just believe BLOCKING social media on election day would be killing a fly with a Sledge Hammer.