50% of Ghanaians want censorship on ‘insulting, denigrating and malicious’ information on social media – Afrobarometer survey

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More than 50 percent of Ghanaians have indicated that they will welcome some form of restrictions on information, opinions and statements that ridicule or insults the President of the Republic of Ghana.

In addition, about half of Ghanaians also say the government should be able to take necessary action to block information it disapproves of or considers false and malicious.

The report also indicated that about 77% of Ghanaians strongly back government to place limitations on social media that will check the spread of false news or information intended to attack someone or groups of persons.

These data were contained in the latest Afrobarometer report issued to address the issue of fake news and the growing use of social media in Ghana.

The report noted, “Although a plurality of Ghanaians oppose restricting access to social media, most want the government to be able to stop the spread of certain types of information. Threequarters (77%) “agree” or “strongly agree” that the government should be able to limit or prohibit the sharing of news or information that is false. In addition, majorities want the government to be able to block hate speech, i.e. information or opinions designed to attack or vilify certain groups in society (69%), as well as news and opinions that criticize or insult the president (57%). Close to half (48%) say the government should be able to limit the spread of information it disapproves of.”

“More citizens favour unrestricted access to social media and the Internet than government regulation. But a majority want the government to be able to fight the spread of false information, hate speech, and other problematic content.”

Even though Ghanaians favour stricter enforcement of laws and tougher actions to curb false news on social media, majority do not want government to restrict social media use.

As compared to other forms of media, majority of Ghanaians trusted news and information from traditional media, that is, radio and TV, more than social media platforms.

The report noted, “While its use is growing fast, social media is less trusted than traditional news sources. Only four in 10 Ghanaians (39%) say they trust information from social media “somewhat” or “a lot,” whereas more than half say they trust private and public media (55% each) and government sources (54%)”.

Despite this, “In 2019, when asked about government restrictions on social media access, almost half (48%) of Ghanaians say unrestricted access to the Internet and social media helps people to be more informed and active citizens, and should be protected, including 25% who feel “very strongly” about this issue. But a significant proportion (32%) of Ghanaians support restrictions on access to the Internet and social media.”

Read the details of the latest Afrobarometer survey below;

 

SourceABC News

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