The President of the Ghana Medical Association (GMA), Dr Kwabena Opoku-Adusei, has warned that the country may be plunged into needless disturbances if false publications and broadcasts in the media, especially on social media, are not checked.
He said social media had become a tool for persons thrilled with propagating false and malicious information to promote their agenda, warning that authorities need to clamp down on such behaviour before things get out hand.
The medical practitioner gave the advice Sunday March 27, 2016 in an interview with Accra News against the backdrop of intense rumours on social media Sunday that he had died at a private health facility at Atonsu Agogo in the Ashanti Region.
But Dr Opoku-Adusei, denying the speculation, said: “I even preached at church today [Easter Sunday]; nothing has happened to me.” It later emerged that the GMA boss had been confused with one Dr Henry Adusei, who had passed on Sunday morning at an Agogo hospital. But Dr Adusei said he had rather travelled to Mampong-Ashanti and was nowhere near the hospital of his rumoured death.
“What I wish to say is that the things that bring about civil war are the little things. Remember the war in Rwanda? It arose from radio broadcasts. The Biafra war also began from markets. Remember the one also caused by disagreement regarding a false alarm over a guinea fowl (in reference to the Konkomba Nanumba conflict in 1994)?” he asked rhetorically, to give instances where false information had spilled over into widespread violence.
“There have been earlier rumours on social media that I have resigned my post. If we don’t streamline its use, we might not like its effect on the country.”
Dr Opoku-Adusei stated that he had no idea why anyone would want him dead, saying whoever had fanned it had his own reasons. “But we have leaders in this country. There are false broadcasts coming from social and print media, radio stations, and other platforms. Both the young and old are involved in propagating false information. That may cost this country. Its effects, if we do not take care, may blow over, so the country’s leaders need to address that,” he cautioned.