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Police consider shut down of social media on election day

The Ghana Police Service has said it is considering shutting down social media services in the country on  November 7, the day of the general elections.

According to the Inspector General of Police, John Kudalor, the abuse of social media platforms by both political parties and ordinary Ghanaians has often created unnecessary tension in the country.

He believes that given the strain that preparations towards the elections have put on the country’s security apparatus, it would be unwise to ignore the potential of social media as an incendiary point for violence.

“At one stage I said that if it becomes critical on the eve and also on the election day, we shall block all social media as other countries have done. We’re thinking about it,” John Kudalor said.

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Facebook and Twitter are two of the most popular Social Media platforms in Ghana. Photo: promaxbda

In February, the Ugandan government shut down social media in the country in what president Yoweri Museveni  called a “security measure to avert lies” as he was re-elected for a fifth term in office.

This was repeated when he was sworn into office in May, with many human rights activists accusing the government of suppressing free speech.

Jonh Kudalor said that the police were following the example set by other countries but added that the police was also mulling over the possibility of setting up social media accounts of their own.

He said this would enable them to counter the actions of potential ‘troublemakers’ who might compromise security operations during the elections.

“We are also thinking about the other alternative that the police should be IT compliant and get our own social media [account] to be able to stop these things on time,” John Kudalor explained.

“We are looking at the variables and come D-Day, we’ll come out with a decision,” he added.

 

By: Edwin Kwakofi/citifmonline.com/Ghana

8 comments

  1. Elorm Kwasi Kanfra

    So now for election security management best practices, we are turning to Uganda? Does the IGP and his team know that the reactionary and despotic Musevni regime with its ways, is widely regarded as a blight on Africa’s democratic and good governance record? Besides, the Ghana Police department’s social media prescence and activity is most derisory, and that’s me being kind with the words, i.e., dormant Twitter and Facebook accounts. Now, instead of taking progressive measures to build capacity in the area of cyber security so that the Department can generally strenghten the security of Ghana’s cyber space and specifically respond to or mitigate threats associated with social networking, it seeks to implement a reactionary policy that inadvertently exposes its own jaundiced capacity in this area. More and more police departments are using social media in crazy, cool ways to catch criminals, share information, and build better public image as well as relationships with the community. The Boston Police Department (BPD), which has long embraced both community policing and the use of social media, is a notable example. This is where our IGP and the Police leadership should be taking cues from, not Uganda (without apology)! And how can one reconcile the commitment to improved police-community relationships, touted every so often by the Police institution, with an obscured prescence on social media and the clear underutilization of same? Anyway, we (like-minded citizens) shall resist any form of censorship any time, any where, and all the more so when it is not based on law and any known common sense approach.

  2. Elorm Kwasi Kanfra

    So now for election security management best practices, we are turning to Uganda? Does the IGP and his team know that the reactionary and despotic Musevni regime with its ways, is widely regarded as a blight on Africa’s democratic and good governance record? Besides, the Ghana Police department’s social media prescence and activity is most derisory, and that’s me being kind with the words, i.e., dormant Twitter and Facebook accounts. Now, instead of taking progressive measures to build capacity in the area of cyber security so that the Department can generally strenghten the security of Ghana’s cyber space and specifically respond to or mitigate threats associated with social networking, it seeks to implement a reactionary policy that inadvertently exposes its own jaundiced capacity in this area. More and more police departments are using social media in crazy, cool ways to catch criminals, share information, and build better public image as well as relationships with the community. The Boston Police Department (BPD), which has long embraced both community policing and the use of social media, is a notable example. This is where our IGP and the Police leadership should be taking cues from, not Uganda (without apology)! And how can one reconcile the commitment to improved police-community relationships, touted every so often by the Police institution, with an obscured prescence on social media and the clear underutilization of same? Anyway, we (like-minded citizens) shall resist any form of censorship any time, any where, and all the more so when it is not based on law and any known common sense approach.

  3. Nehemiah Attigah

    You are not online and do not understand how it works yet you want to shut it done.

  4. Nehemiah Attigah

    You are not online and do not understand how it works yet you want to shut it done.

  5. Emmanuel Kofi Yirenkyi Antwi

    If the Police shut down social media on election day, it will be a total defeat to our democracy and freedom of speech .
    Is Ghana becoming a Police State ?

  6. Emmanuel Kofi Yirenkyi Antwi

    If the Police shut down social media on election day, it will be a total defeat to our democracy and freedom of speech .
    Is Ghana becoming a Police State ?

  7. Emmanuel Kofi Yirenkyi Antwi

    (1) Freedom and independence of the media are hereby guaranteed.
    (2) Subject to this Constitution and any other law not inconsistent with this Constitution, there shall be no censorship in Ghana.
    (3) There shall be no impediments to the establishment of private press or media; and in particular, there shall be no law requiring any person to obtain a licence as a prerequisite to the establishment or operation of a newspaper, journal or other media for mass communication or information.
    (4) Editors and publishers of newspapers and other institutions of the mass media shall not be subject to control or interference by Government, not shall they be penalized or harassed for their editorial opinions and views, or the content of their publications.

    Maybe the IGP should consider the provision in the 1992 constitution above before…..

  8. Emmanuel Kofi Yirenkyi Antwi

    (1) Freedom and independence of the media are hereby guaranteed.
    (2) Subject to this Constitution and any other law not inconsistent with this Constitution, there shall be no censorship in Ghana.
    (3) There shall be no impediments to the establishment of private press or media; and in particular, there shall be no law requiring any person to obtain a licence as a prerequisite to the establishment or operation of a newspaper, journal or other media for mass communication or information.
    (4) Editors and publishers of newspapers and other institutions of the mass media shall not be subject to control or interference by Government, not shall they be penalized or harassed for their editorial opinions and views, or the content of their publications.

    Maybe the IGP should consider the provision in the 1992 constitution above before…..

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