UNDP and partners support forum on responsible social media use

Nov 14, 2016

A moderated panel discussion at the forum. Phot credit: Bossman Owusu/UNDP)

Ahead of the December 7 elections in Ghana, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and partners have supported the maiden public forum on free and responsible use of social media in the country.

The event organized by the National Media Commission sought to identify and harness the beneficial use of social media to deepen Ghana's democratic credentials.

“Educating citizens and voters on the responsible use of social media for promoting positive and responsible citizens’ engagement during the 2016 electioneering process is vital”, says Mr. Dominic Sam, UNDP Country Director during his brief remarks at the forum.

Mr. Sam applauded the National Media Commission for bringing stakeholders together to deliberate on social media, which he reckoned as the new media used by citizens for exchange of ideas and social mobilization to receive attention of duty bearers.

The Chairman of the National Media Commission, Mr. Kwesi Gyan Apenteng praised UNDP for mooting the idea and mobilizing resources and partnership for the implementation of the maiden forum.

The event funded by the Government of Canada was also supported by the British High Commission, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Australian High Commission and the United States Embassy.

Through a moderated panel discussion, the public forum drew lessons from Kenya’s use of social media in intelligence gathering and citizen engagement as well as opportunities to improve its responsible use and reach in Ghana.

A communique issued at the end of the forum recognized the need for unfettered access toward a responsible use of social media as well as improved digital literacy in Ghana. It also called on regulators and security agencies to put in place appropriate framework and measures to ensure that social media use is not interfered with in the country.

The public forum witnessed the participation of civil society, journalists, media organisations, missions, telecommunications network operators, some political parties and development partners.

Ghana has witnessed six successive peaceful elections and two transfers of political power since 1992. “The world has high expectations that the December 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections will be peaceful, transparent, inclusive and credible as social media is used responsibly”, concluded Mr. Dominic Sam.

UNDP remains committed in supporting Ghana grow her democratic stature for sustainable development.