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May 27, 2016 | Headlines

Police risk lawsuit over social media ban – Lawyer

By CitiFMonline
Police risk lawsuit over social media ban – Lawyer

A private legal practitioner, Ace Ankomah has said the Ghana Police Service risk lawsuit over the possible social media ban on November 7.

He noted that some people can go to court to seek a restraining order to prevent the Police from executing such action.

The Inspector General of Police, John Kudalor on Thursday revealed that the police is considering shutting down social media on election day because the abuse of such platforms by both political parties and ordinary Ghanaians often created unnecessary tension in the country.

According to Kudalor, given the strain that preparations towards the elections have put on the country's security apparatus, it would be unwise to ignore the potential of social media as an incendiary point for violence.

“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,” John Kudalor said.

But speaking on the Citi Breakfast Show on Friday, Ace Ankomah said banning social media is not the answer for reducing tension in the country during election.

He insisted that such action could be seen as infringing on the rights of citizens.

“The right and freedom of information and communication is absolutely guaranteed and the excuse to it ought to be in accordance with law in a democratic society. So for even considering this the IGP is playing with a possible legal action from restraining it from doing it,” he noted.

“On the basis of which law is he going to stop access to information? Our rights to communication cannot be infringed with under the provisions of the constitution unless it is in accordance with law and not just law, law that is necessary in a democratic society. So technically and legally they will struggle.”

Ace Ankomah further noted that “Nigeria did election without banning social media and the report show that social media helped. Uganda banned it so on what basis are we going the Ugandan way instead of going the Nigerian way?”

Strengthen traditional media
The astute lawyer further called for the empowerment of traditional media to enable them detect false information.

“Let's strengthen the traditional media to be able to give out information and give it out quickly so that we will know that the key thing is traditional media. So that when somebody put out some diabolic message, traditional media can quickly kill it. If you shut down social media, we can still talk and people can still do their diabolic,” he added.

By: Godwin A. Allotey/
Follow @AlloteyGodwin

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