Cornelius Deveaux cited the incident of the late Sierra Leonean football star, Alphajor Bah whose fatal accident picture was posted all over the Social Media while he was battling with his death as a clear example of the misuse of the Social Media. He further disclosed that some group of people compiled list of HIV/AID positive list that was circulated on social media that it was something they got from Marie Stopes.
“The Theresa Mbayo issue and that of the wide spread talks about plastic rice being imported into the country, are all gross misuse of the Social Media”. The Deputy Minister added.
He further explained that the APC government was very much conscious of the fact that the Social Media had played very important role in terms of information sharing, entertainment and more, but however, stressed that the government would not compromise its misuse as it would do more harm than good to the nation.
Deveaux further stated that, the government had no intention to ban Social Media but if Sierra Leoneans continue to misuse it, the government would be left with no option but to put a stop to it.
“If Sierra Leoneans are able to positively regulate the Social Media, then, the government will be satisfied. But if they do not, then we will ban it”. He added.
Responding to questions asked, the Deputy Minister said that there were better options to regulate Social Media but banning it was a better option.
A citizen, Frederick Abdulai Harding told this medium that such a move by the government would be a complete infringement on the rights of the citizens of this nation. He furthered that the government has lots of ways to track people who misused social media, while adding that the threat by the government to put a ban on Social Media during the next elections would create some suspicion in the minds of many. He ended by advising the government not to put a ban on Social Media but rather use other options to regulate it.
Joseph Johnson, a practicing journalist based in Freetown disclosed in an interview with this medium that the Social Media happened to be a major and fast source of information sharing in recent times and that banning it during the next general elections would deprive people of access to information.
Robert Charles Davis, a student of the Limkokwing University of Creative Technology also commented that the Social Media has been significance to them as they had created educational groups on Social Media that has helped them greatly in their academic work. He therefore called on the government to use other options to regulate Social Media instead of putting a ban on it.