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Monday, August 01, 2016

Ghana: Penplusbytes says 'No' to social media ban

The Penplusbtye, an Information and Communication Technology (ICT)-based organization situated in Accra, the capital of Ghana, has called on the Police Administration in the country not to ban social media in the forthcoming elections, reports ITRealms.
The Executive Director of Penplusbtye, Mr. Kwami  Ahiabenu II, made this call in the sidelines of a social accountability forum held in Accra, urged the Police Administration to consider setting up a social media monitoring centre, instead of total ban on social media activities on election day.
A Ghana News Agency (GNA) report available to ITRealms, Ahiabenu was quoted as declaring, “A total ban of social media  on election day would increase suspicions and create an information gap that can easily be filled with more misinformation and rumours.”
He also said social media had become a very important ICT tool with most of its contents being very useful to the society, stressing that despite its excesses, social media had contributed to entrenching democracy, especially in most African countries, through monitoring of elections as well as serving as a major source of diverse information in the world over and therefore for Ghana to ban social media on election day would not be too good.
“Many citizens and stakeholders rely on social media to monitor elections, and this give them confidence of knowing what is going on, therefore a ban of it will create problems and jeopardise elections outcome,” Mr Ahiabenu II said.
Dr Esther Ofei-Aboagye, Vice-Chair of the National Development Planning Commission, who chaired the function said “We shouldn’t move away from social media but we should use it to promote governance and accountability, especially in this election year.”
ITRealms noted that the Social Accountability forum, attended by various stakeholders including heads of civil society organisations, state actors on the social accountability front as well as donor organisations, created synergy and avenue for information sharing while building a concerted advocacy drive to ensure resources allocated for development are used to alleviate poverty and improve the standard of living of citizens at the grassroots.
The overall goal of the platform was to increase the contribution of civil society in promoting accountability and effective public service delivery.
The Social Accountability forum forms part of the implementation of the Penplusbytes’ two-year "Tech Driven Social Accountability for Results" project which is being funded by the Open Society Initiative for West Africa.

It seeks to equip ordinary citizens with usable information via online platforms mashed-up with social media and mobile based platforms to promote their purposeful participation in demanding accountability and responsiveness from decision makers for effective public service delivery.
Nenye Dom/GNA/GEE
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