The founder of the All People’s Congress (APC), Hassan Ayariga, has backed a proposal by the Ghana Police Service to shut down social media services in the country on the day of the general elections scheduled for November 2016.
The Inspector General of Police, COP John Kudalor, intimated that his outfit might consider a social media blackout on the eve of the elections and on 7th November as part of measures to ensure security during the polls.
Mr. Ayariga believes that Ghanaians need to get behind the IGP’s proposal as he believes the decision was made with the security interests of the country in mind.
“At times, for a whole day, you turn on your data and it won’t work, you don’t complain, you don’t call the service providers and say look my data is off and for that matter…. Even MTN, sometimes you call a friend and it will tell you that the mobile phone you are calling is switched off, meanwhile it would not be switched off. Do you complain?, he told Accra-based radio station, Okay FM.
“For God’s sake Ghanaians, what the IGP is saying is for the sake of our peace. We cannot just have peace without paying for the price,” he said. “I want to be president and nobody can rule a burning nation [sic] …so lets all be committed to the peace that we are talking about,” he added.
According to Mr. Kudalor, the measure was being considered as a safeguard against ‘troublemakers’ who use social media platforms to foment trouble and might compromise security efforts during the polls.
“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,” he said.
The comments have been met with widespread criticism, with many Ghanaians arguing that it would amount to suppression of free speech and that the police would be better served focusing on more credible threats to the elections.
By: Edwin Kwakofi/citifmonline.com/Ghana