Mr Arthur has said that the IGP made the comments as a suggestion, and that there were no plans in place to ban social media on November 7.
The Ghana Police Service has as a matter of fact, changed its mind concerning the supposed social media ban on elections day. Clarifying their position on the controversial issue, the Communications Director of the Police, Cephas Arthur said that the police will not yank off social media platforms on November 7. He explained that the supposed ban was only a suggestion ahead of the general elections which was still under consideration.
The Inspector General of Police IGP John Kudalor had earlier hinted at a possible shut down of all social media platforms on November 7. He made this comment highlighting the ‘trouble’ such move could save the country. Eyebrows had been raised among Ghanaians, following the IGP’s comments, with many warning against the possible infringement of citizens’ right to expression.
However, Mr Arthur, while speaking at Blogging Ghana’s Blog camp on Saturday said the IGP made the comments as a suggestion, and that there were no plans already in place to ban social media on November 7.
Mr Arthur pointed out that the IGP had also mentioned some other alternatives apart from the ‘ban’, which the public has not been talking about. He explained that the idea of ‘social media ban’ as well as other alternatives, came up as a result of the police’s zeal to ensure a peaceful election come November. He therefore called on Ghanaians to keep calm as the police has no plans to ban social media on elections day.
The issue of social media ban had also gotten to the attention of former Secretary General of the United Nations (UN) Kofi Annan, who also advised against the plan. He had advised government to look at the useful means of social media, rather than looking for ways to suppress it.
Several bodies including the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD), the Alliance for Accountable Governance (AFAG) BloggingGhana, and PenPlusBytes have also criticized the IGP’s ‘suggestion’, describing the idea as ‘undemocratic’. But the air has been cleared now – there will be no shut down of any sort on social media platforms, come elections in November.