The Director of Electoral Services at the Electoral Commission (EC), Dr Serebour Quaicoe, has stated that the spread of fake news, especially about elections, should be of great concern to Ghanaians as the country goes to the polls on December 7, 2020.
He explained that the broadcast of fake news had the tendency to create tension and advised the youth not to be conveyers of such news.
Dr Quaicoe, who was speaking at a day’s youth dialogue in Accra last Tuesday, said the youth were often the target of spreading false news because they were technology savvy.
The forum jointly organised by the EC and the Youth Bridge Foundation was on the theme: “The Electoral Offences: The Unspoken Threat to Peaceful Election.”
Dr Quaicoe said in the era of new and social media where citizens had become journalists tweeting and posting their news, the effects of fake news and misinformation could be damning.
“Videos, audios, and photos can be distorted to mislead you to act violently,” he stated
He said several factors accounted for the spread of fake news, including the urgent quest for information by news consumers in critical times and the modern-day individual’s over-dependence on digital media.
He also noted that in an election period, fake news could even change the political direction of any country and cautioned the youth not to indulge in such activities because the source and the broadcaster could be jailed.
He noted that many had attributed the generally peaceful nature of elections in Ghana to the efficiency of the EC, which had the core mandate to conduct and supervise elections.
“It is, however, important to emphasise that the EC can only achieve this mandate through effective collaboration with its stakeholders, such as the electorate, including the youth,” he said, adding that the youth constituted a significant percentage of the voter population in the country.
The Head of Gender, Youth and Disability Unit at the EC, Mrs Abigail Nutakor, said the youth were the future and must not be used as pawns by politicians and other people to incite violence during the upcoming elections.
“Let your words and actions build and unite, not destroy and divide. Do not be lured to engage in electoral offences such as snatching ballot boxes and double voting or defacing of posters,” she said.
The Executive Director, Youth Bridge Foundation, Mr Seth Oteng, advised the youth, especially first-time voters, to protect their future by shunning electoral violence. – GNA