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‘Ghana Today’ platform initiative is good but not enough – Executive Director of Penplusbytes

Penplusbytes has commended the Ministry of Information and the Information Services Department (ISD) for launching the new online platform “Ghana Today,” to fight misinformation in the country.

The Executive Director of Penplusbytes, Jerry Sam noted his outfit believes the initiative is a good tool for acquiring factual information on government business, but may not necessarily be a good tool in addressing the misinformation menace.

“As it stands, the platform is nothing more than an information sharing tool for government, rather than providing tools or resources to orient citizens on the dangers of misinformation and how society as a whole can curb the menace,” he said.

ISD launches platform to combat misinformation

Jerry Sam noted that it is essential that the nation approaches the fight against mis/disinformation as a fight against disease and deal with it in a holistic manner.

He added that at Penplusbytes they do not propose a “cure” instead “we are trying to create vaccines that will strengthen peoples resistance to false news and other online deceptions and the vaccine is media and information literacy,” Jerry Sam said.

He noted that empowering people through Media and Information Literacy (MIL) has become an essential prerequisite for determining the authenticity or otherwise of information and as such, individuals who are equipped with MIL skills and knowledge are less likely to share, create or consume inaccurate stories or information.

“What this means is that, if we really are determined to fight misinformation, then it must be done well and in view of this, Penplusbytes is therefore urging government to enforce section 76 of the Electronic Communication Act, 2008 [Act 775], which stipulates that partner with Penplusbytes and other civil society organizations like Dubawa, Media Foundation for West Africa etc who have already led various MIL initiatives and organised training among various target groups and continue to advocate for the government’s attention to the need for MIL competences among citizens,” Mr Jerry Sam said.

He noted that Penplusbytes has been in the MIL space for a very long time and has viewed the fake news phenomenon from all possible viewpoints and can conclude that the newly built “Ghana Today” by the ISD will not be enough to address this issue.

However, a concerted effort from the government [the Ministry of Information, Education and Communication ministries and other institutions] would go a long way toward properly fighting mis/disinformation.

The platform, according to the Minister of Information, Mr. Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, is to serve as a repository of all information relating to government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA’s) will contain content such as full-text of speeches and information relating to different sectors of government.

Source: Ghana News

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