The Inspector General of Police (IGP) got Ghana and Africa talking on Thursday with suggestions that the Ghana Police Service is considering blocking social media on the eve and during the November election.
Blocking social media on the eve and during the elections. Is it even possible? Why will the police even contemplate blocking social media before and during the elections? Ghanaians home and abroad will connect to explore.
Connecting in the studio was Nehemiah Attigah, a software engineer and an avid social media user. Also connecting in the studio was Ekow Essuman the social media manager for the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP)'s 2016 campaign.
Sulemana Salisu is a telecom engineer and a member of the NDC social media team also connected with Ghanaians and Africa.
Malaka Grant who blogs at mindofmalaka.com joined the discussion from Georgia in the United States.
Talking about blocking social media, one superpower also comes to mind; China. As of September 2015, around 3,000 websites were blocked in mainland China including Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, Instagram, Google among others.
Kofi Brefa Bretuo, a Ghanaian student who has lived through a regime that actually blocks social media use so effectively connected to share his experience.
For his part, Salisu said he agrees with the IGP’s stance that “it should be blocked when it becomes critical” arguing that if activities of political operatives will impact negatively on the peace Ghana is enjoying it should be blocked.
He concedes however that it will be in violation of freedom of speech and expression yet, he said this should be looked at against the backdrop of the possible threat of conflict on election day.
Brefuo disagreed with Salisu on the grounds that people won't have to necessary use social media to cause mayhem when there are many other avenues they can use. He argued further that looking at it from the totalitarian regimes of China is overstretching the argument since Ghana is seen as a beacon of democracy, besides he said China have their own version of Facebook and Twitter.
Malaika said the IGP should rather talk about how people can be civil before and doing elections citing popular line "the revolution will not be televised."
She said this is like sending Ghana back to the coup d’etat days and with Ghana boasting of being the gateway to Africa, a regression to a level of blocking social media must not be accepted.
Listen to the show: