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EC calls for framework to regulate social media use during election

The Electoral Commission has backed calls for the establishment of a national framework to guide the use of social media in the country during national elections.

According to the Commission, such a framework would help reduce the high rate of mis/disinformation spread during elections, ensure the integrity of the electoral process and protect the democracy, peace and security of the country.

Mrs Jean Mensa, Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, made the call at a seminar on the “Impact of Disinformation on Electoral Integrity, Peace and Security in Africa,” in Accra, on Thursday.

The seminar was organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration in collaboration with the Ministry of Information and the Institute of Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA).

It was attended by members from key public and private institutions including the judiciary, political parties, civil society organisations, as well as security and political analysts.

Mrs Mensa said one of the most pressing challenges confronting electoral management bodies was the proliferation of fake news and disinformation campaigns on social media platforms.

“Indeed, the culture of spreading fake news or falsehood is not a new phenomenon but the advent of the internet and social media has allowed it to spread at a faster and more widespread rate, with a damaging consequence to electoral management bodies and elections,” she emphasised.

The Electoral Commissioner noted that social media if not properly managed could pose a real threat to elections and destabilise the peace and security of the country. Therefore, the Commission would be happy if a regulation was put in place to manage social media use, especially during elections to check mis/disinformation.

“We, at the Electoral Commission of Ghana, support the development of a framework to guide the use of social media around elections and around the peace and security of our respective countries. “I join my voice to Elon Musk, and I quote him; “there should be regulations on social media to the degree that it negatively affects the public good,” she emphasised.

She, however, assured of the Commission’s commitment to deliver a free and fair general election in 2024. “We have no doubt that, as was the case in 2020, we will carry the citizens along with us and build public trust and confidence in our work, and ultimately maintain the peace and security of our dear nation,” she assured.

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