General News of Thursday, 13 July 2017
Vice President of policy think-tank IMANI Ghana, Kofi Bentil has reiterated the importance of social media in strengthening the democracy of governments.
According to the legal practitioner, any government that sidelines social media will eventually collapse because they are platforms where citizens and people across cultures share diverse views on political issues and decisions that affect their lives.
Therefore, he said, social media must be treated with importance because it enables the president of a country to be abreast with issues happening around him and what the people he is leading think about his policies and other state affairs.
Mr. Bentil was speaking at event organised by IMANI Africa at the Kempinski Hotel Gold Coast City in Accra Wednesday, July 12, 2017 on the theme, “Governance in the age of social media”.
“There is no question that government must give attention to social media, not because of technology but because it represents the heart of democracy itself. It’s a means by which you know what people are thinking, what they’re doing and what is generally going on,” he noted.
He said inasmuch as a president of a country may not be able to spend much time on social media, there is the need to have a clear social media strategy to help in running its administration.
“…there must be a social media strategy. It must be well staffed and well-resourced so that it keeps a pause on what is going on and escalate the issues to the president when it’s necessary,” he maintained.
Citing the popular ‘Occupy Flagstaff House’ demonstration, Mr. Bentil said, even though at the time of the march the number of participants was insignificant, the use of social media to reach a wider audience had a great influence on government’s decisions.
He added that despite the fact that social media sometimes is very irritating, any government that sees it as unimportant does that at its own peril.
“My view is that no government should ignore social media but the level of importance to put on it is crucial and to measure that, I think in simple terms; have a strategy and make sure it’s well resourced,” he emphasized.