The Ministry of Communications, says it will be forced to regulate activities on the internet, if citizens are unable to observe ethics of the network, including the respect for privacy online.
The ministry, which supervises the National Communication Authority (NCA), did not explain the nature of the regulation the government intends to carry out.
Speaking on the sidelines of the freedom online conference in Accra yesterday, which seeks to dialogue on ways to improve Internet access and ensure security online, sector minister, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, outlined measures being rolled out to expand access to Internet in Ghana.
However, being alarmed at the rate of abuse of social media and other spaces on the internet, Mrs. Owusu-Ekuful, noted that government would be forced to regulate the internet, if individuals cannot be responsible online.
She said, “In certain countries there’s been calls for social media to be shut down because of its abuse but like I indicated in my speech, I don’t think that’s an option. However, we need to promote more responsible use of the internet to secure the privacy of all citizens online – children, the vulnerable – and to ensure that we do not overstep those bounds.
“If we don’t self-regulate the state will be compelled to set in place the mechanisms to regulate our usage of the internet.
“However, in crafting cyber security laws, we should also be mindful of individual liberties and freedoms so we strike that fine balance between all these competing needs in protecting the citizens, protecting the security of the state and ensuring that the internet is available for lawful use by all and not restricting its usage while protecting the vulnerable online.”
Ursula’s tenure , has witnessed the shutting down of many radio stations, including Accra –based Radio Gold. It has led to hundreds of people losing their jobs and livelihoods.
Though, she had insisted on the right things being done by the managers of these stations to get their licenses back, most of them have complained that, although they have done what was required, the NCA and the Minister herself, have refused to allow them back on air.
Parliament’s Committee on Communications, has also said they have severally held meetings with the minister and the NCA to restore some of the licenses, including that of Radio Gold, but to avail.