The Ghana Police Service has clarified that it cannot ban social media as there is no law that mandates the law enforcement body to do so.
Police Director of Public Affairs, Supt. Cephas Arthur explained that comments by the Inspector General of Police (IGP) about containing social media had been misconstrued.
“Police have not said [they] will shut down social media on the day of elections. The IGP has come out to categorically deny that fact. We do not have the power; all we can do is that if the need arises, the IGP can advise our principal (the president),” he stated in an interview with Prince Minkah on Class FM’s Executive Breakfast Show on Tuesday, October 25.
He explained that as a security agency mandated to ensure public security and safety, should the need arise, the police can recommend to the president of Ghana for a ban, but the service cannot carry out that action unilaterally.
The IGP first hinted at a possible Election Day social media blackout in June 2016 and the topic came up again when he interacted with some Muslim leaders in Accra on Monday October 24.
The IGP maintained that the option to “contain” social media would be triggered should the necessity arise. “We are going to put in place some measures to contain social media,” he said.
For him, the duty of the police is to ensure Ghana emerges out of the elections in “peace and not in pieces”.
Supt. Arthur indicated that the comments did not translate into an outright ban as there is no law that empowers the police to do so. “Legally, we do not have that power to shut down social media but we can make an input as to which direction we should all take. The IGP can make a suggestion to the president and it will be up to him to take it or otherwise,” he explained.
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