In spite of the backlash and criticisms he has suffered for stating his intention to shut down social media on Election Day, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), John Kudalor, seems to be bent on carrying out his threat with a justification.
According to him, nothing at all or nobody can stop him from blocking social media sites on Election Day if that is what it would take to safeguard the peace and security of the country.
“I don’t want to use some words. I think everybody has his opinion; everybody is entitled to his opinion. I’m talking as a security person, and I know where I’m coming from and I know what has happened. “…The world is now a global village and we have to compare with best practices, so, I don’t see what they are talking about. If it gets to the crunch… I think there is nothing that can stop anybody from going that way if it’s necessary,” Mr John Kudalor said in an interview with Accra-based Class FM last Friday.
He cited a country like Uganda where a similar thing happened.
Even though he did not state what could impel him to take any such decision, according to the IGP, the use of social media by politicians, especially from agents and members of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), for election-related activities, had created tension in the country, hence his proposal.
“At one stage, I said that if it becomes critical on the eve and also on Election Day, we shall block all social media [sites] as other countries have done. We’re thinking about it,” were his exact comments when he addressed a press conference a day before the radio interview.
But the IGP’s comments continue to attract more condemnation from the public, with lots of Ghanaians expressing disappointment in this otherwise fine gentleman.
One of such persons is the Dean of the School of Information and Communication at the University of Ghana (UG), Legon, Prof Audrey Gadzekpo, who has personally indicated her preparedness to protest against any such move by the IGP or government as an institution.
“We have a strong social media-loving public and social movement that will protest, and I will be one of those included in the protest,” she said in an interview on the same network.
Apart from sparking street protests, Prof Gadzekpo was of the conviction that any attempt to shut down social media on Election Day would dent the country’s democratic credentials.
“Why are we following moves by countries whose democracy is in question? Why would they be our role model?” she asked in reference to the Uganda case, saying, “I hope the IGP rethinks it.”
She wondered, “I cannot imagine a situation in which they will say that they will ban radio, television or they will ban email because people will make irresponsible statements or exchange information in that way.”
For her, the move “is too much of a knee-jerk reaction to social media. What they will also now begin to encourage is the culture of going underground to communicate.”
Senior journalist and Editor-in-Chief of the New Crusading Guide newspaper, Abdul Malik Kweku Baako Jnr., has also served notice that even though he is on retirement relative to demonstrations, “if ever, that kind of policy is put in place, then I will be the first person to heed the call of Madam Gadzekpo and be on the streets.” He gave the threat on Joy FM’s news analysis programme, ‘Newsfile,’ over the weekend.
Source: Daily Guide