Monday, August 08, 2016

9th Accra Technology Salon to discuss the impact of a potential social media ban during the 2016 Ghana elections

Accra - On August 23rd 2016, Penplusbytes will host the 9th Accra Technology Salon at the New Media Hub, Osu on the topic: "Should Ghana ban social media on election day?”. The event is aimed at understanding the impact of a shutdown or otherwise of social media on elections in Ghana.
With discussions to be led by parties from the opposing ends of the trending debate including Supt. Cephas Arthur of the Ghana Police Service, Nehemiah Attigah of Blogging Ghana, Lloyd Evans of IFEJ and Kwami Ahiabenu II of Penplusbytes, the Technology Salon would attempt to answer questions on how social media bans in other countries impacted their elections, what the merits and demerits of a shutdown of social media on Election Day are, what options are available for security agencies to prevent or quell election violence incited via social media platforms and whether social media monitoring could be used to curb electoral violence and misinformation.

Since the Inspector General of Police, John Kudalor announced his intention to shutdown social media on the day of the 2016 elections in Ghana, civil society groups, political figures, the United Nations and individuals have given varied views on the proposed shutdown. The discussions have been loud with each of the sectors insisting on why their position is right. The Police Administration has particularly been urged to consider setting up a social media monitoring centre, to police social media activities on Election Day instead of a total ban.

The Tech Salon will for the first time bring the CSOs and the police administration together to try to understand the polarized positions and work out a solution, which will contribute to a peaceful and transparent election.

According to Kwami Ahiabenu II, the executive director of Penplusbytes, “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. But it is important such implications are discussed critically.”  He added that the technology salon will provide the unique platform for such discussions.

Penplusbytes is a not-for-profit organization driving change through innovations in three key areas: using new digital technologies to enable good governance and accountability, new media and innovations, and driving oversight for effective utilisation of mining, oil and gas revenue and resources.

The Technology Salon™ is an intimate, informal, and in person, discussion between information and communication technology experts and international development professionals, with a focus on both:
  • technology's impact on donor-sponsored technical assistance delivery, and
  • private enterprise driven economic development, facilitated by technology.

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