The military must stop misuse of social media

The Minister of Defence, Mr Dominic Nitiwul last week, lamented the misuse of social media to cause disaffection among the rank and file of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF).

According to him, such acts undermine the discipline within the security apparatus and national cohesion.

“We are destroying the GAF on social media with stories which are untrue and complete lies about the military, officers and other ranks. That person is a security risk; we cannot be dividing the army along Northern, Ashanti, Ewe, CPP, NPP and NDC,” he was quoted as saying.

The Defence Minister was not alone in the lamentation, the Chief of Defence Staff, Lt General Obed Boama Akwa, added that the acts by which people use the internet to circulate misinformation about the GAF was an act of subversion.

“The Military High Command was determined to stop the misinformation” he said, in an apparent reference to happenings in the GAF.

Indeed, the strong words used by the two topmost officials in charge of the GAF indicate that something serious is happening in the military that ought to be stopped.

Although we do not have the full facts, we can deduce from the narration that it is about the misuse of social media that is irking the two topmost officials.

Whilst we join the military officials to condemn the misuse of social media to peddle falsehood about the military, we like to point out the importance of social media that the military cannot ignore.

No doubt, it may be presenting new challenges to the military but social media has been accepted as the new means of global communication.

Social media has revolutionised communication and demonstrated a capacity penetration that was not there before.

The fact is that social media is distinct from other forms of media because they are more viral and users share content more widely sometimes across borders.

Social media no doubt would present a new challenge to a military that for centuries have been conservative and regimented.

Although the top hierarchy of Ghana’s military is highly educated and professionally trained, it appears that they are yet to embrace social media and its ramifications.

All over the world, armies and security agencies have largely embraced the various forms of social media available to them.

Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp among others have become part of the official communication tools which they use to communicate amongst themselves, including in the field and on operations.

It is for the military hierarchy to note that social media offers an opportunity and a level of transparency but also presents threats that must be handled very well.

An informed use of all social media platforms is the way forward and the military must embrace and insist on it.

That is the only way to stop the misuse of the social media because it has come to stay.

 

 

 

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