30 July 2016

Social media is a counterbalancing watchdog – expert

ExpertThe Director of International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance has urged the police administration to desist from clamping down on social media as the nation marches into the December polls.

Professor Adebayo Olukoshi says even though social media is being used for negative purposes, its effectiveness for being a force for good cannot be underestimated in a democracy like Ghana.

“I think the question of social media is something that ought to be handled with care because it is a force for good as it is a force potentially for bad,” he said.

Prof. Olukoshi disclosed this to Joy News at an Evening with Democracy Expert programme held in Accra, Thursday.

Inspector General of Police (IGP), John Kudalor, has said on several platforms that the police administration is considering shutting down social media on election day.

He says the decision is borne out of the fact that the police does not want people to use the platform to declare the winner of the election when the Electoral Commission (EC) has not done that.

Even though many civil society groups, the United Nations and individual Ghanaians have registered their misgivings, the IGP appears unmoved as he reiterated his call during his tour of the Eastern Region to ascertain police preparation towards the December polls.

Professor Olukoshi says the platform can be used to champion the interest of the nation if there is an agreement between the major stakeholders of the upcoming election.

“If it is the agreement among political parties that there is only one adjudicator of elections namely the Independent EC which should be announcing the result,” he said.

According to him, when this is agreed by consensus, any pronouncement made on social media amounts to nothing more than speculations.

He cited the failed coup in Turkey which was allegedly staged by some opposition members with collaboration from some military personnel as an example of how social media can be a force for good.

“We saw the attempted coup in Turkey was defeated primarily because of social media. In a situation in which the coup makers had already seized much of the regular media outlet only avenue available to the elected President was FaceTime using an iPhone,” he said.

It can be used for the interest of the country if the nation or its leaders will demand Ghanaians to be careful of what they post on them

Source: Ghana | Myjoyonline.com

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