By Abubakr-Sadiq Braimah
For some time now, some Ghanaians have tended to enjoy the freedoms as enshrined in the 1992 Constitution and have gone on to bring in certain practices like gay rights, lesbian rights, right to euthanasia and Child Rights Freedom, Spousal Sexual freedom etc., etc., from other countries like the Great Britain, some states in the United States and the likes.
The more freedom a society enjoys, the higher the rise of insecurity and threats to the very freedoms that are supposed to be enjoyed. It is only a very efficient security management system that enables the society to enjoy its freedom in peace.
Ghana, as a country, has almost reached that stage. There is so much freedom in this country such that it has been described as the one of freest, if not the freest country in the world.
Radio stations particularly lead the assault in the abuse of individuals. Either the radio presenters assume a “know all attitude” and impose their positions on issues on the listener or they bring in “panelists” who rain abuses and in very foul language on public figures during discussions. The stations know themselves because they seem to be acting in tandem with certain objectives. Then we have the ‘almighty social media’ the mischievous use of which is even worse than that of some radio stations. Blatant acts of ‘fraud’ deception and subterfuge are carried out on the social media.
The advocates of absolute freedom when making a case for their position fail to see that just as much as one has a freedom, there are responsibilities that go with these freedoms. There is no “freedom” in any part of the world that allows him enjoyment of that “freedom” to create societal existence. In Ghana, there does not appear to be any serious legal checks on the operations of the media. The main agencies – the National Media Commission (N.M.C.) and the Ghana Journalist Association (G.J.A.) are as impotent as eunuchs. Even the media practitioners do not give a damn about them when they are operating. The N.M.C. only functions when vacancies exist in the state media and as for the G.J.A. even not all Journalists are members.
Social media in Ghana is a in a very pathetic state because it was kind of ‘imported’ with the coming in of the telecoms. There is no regulation governing it operations and use and so it has become the means by which some people ‘malign’ the reputations of orders; it has become the means by which vile rumors laced with lots of untruths are circulated in the country; it has become the means by which certain moral values of this country are being undermined and it is the means by which sometimes religious animosity is generated. But there is no management system to check abuses.
So these things happen, and on daily basis, and tension rises, peace and security is threatened. When there is a breakdown of law and other, the same ‘agents’ of the change call on the security agencies to intervene to ensure law and order.
That is where the nightmare and woes of the security manager starts because apart from ensuring that law and order prevails, there is the responsibility of finding out the possible cause of the incident and try and curtail it and above all, the ability to handle all parties in as fair a manner as possible. This in a very normal situation but situations are not always normal, so there are other ‘headaches’.
In security management all over the world, even in Britain and the United States, the manager has some leverage to carry out some activity to ensure peace and security. The leverage may not be in conformity with constitutional provisions, but in order to ensure the existence of the constitution itself, it must be ‘breached’ to ensure its existence. A pregnant woman is expected to deliver normally through the vagina but when it comes to crisis the doctors cut her lower abdomen to get the baby and the save the lives of mother and baby.
In 2011, the British Government considered a clamped down on social media during but relented because the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) developed a means of detecting the sources of information on social media. In the United States where freedom of freedoms is guaranteed, if you were 1,000 kilometers and was heard to be muttering threats against the President of the United States, United States security will arrest and prosecute you for that. Example of your display of your freedom and the freedom and protection of the President of the United States. Ghana’s national security is even riskier now than during the time of the assassinations attempts on the Osagyefo in 1960s. It just needs one statement and there will be confusion all over.
The proponents of absolute freedom appear not to have considered their responsibilities of ensuring the peace. Instead of the Auderys and their threats to lead demonstrations they could engage the Police Service and engage the Service in how to manage situations like this. If the Police lack the understanding of social media as they claim, take them through. Star Ghana has just finished a training program for stringers of radio stations on how to monitor the forthcoming elections. It could collaborate with the media to help train and equip the Police in social media monitoring.
Otherwise, the option left for Police Service is to use the ’leverage’ that security services all over the world normally enjoy during crisis situations. In a crisis situation, when state security is threatened and ‘freedoms are curbed’ to ensure safety, very few courts will fault security. Courts do not do that because if they did the courts might not even be ableto sit and do their job because there will be general confusionall over.
It appears unfair and irresponsible for supposedly learned people like Professor Audrey Gadzekpo, Sydney Casely-Hayford, and others to howl at the I.G.P.because freedom must be absolute without considering the ‘dangers’ linked to it. If things are left as they are the likes of such people risk their freedoms because there is no future Government that will tolerate this ‘nonsense.’
Whiles the citizenry go about their leisure and other activities, the security chiefs worry about the next telephone call that my report breach of security. If it is an armed robbery, it is not as problematic as a clash at the headquarters of a political party whether here in Accra or elsewhere. And this is the daily life of every security manager- not to be caught unawares. So when those who shout the loudest about freedom want to do things that will cause a breach of the freedom. But the job of the security manager is to ensure that we all enjoy whatever we are doing.
People in countries like Somalia, Burundi, etc may prefer a clamp down on social media for a year to be able to live longer and achieve their life
Value what you have and respect the guys who make it possible.