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“We will shut down social media ahead of 2018 election if…”

-Minister threatens

May 5, 2017 By Mohamed Massaquoi

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Minister Deveaux…Shutting down social media goes beyond media regulations and could even silence the ruling APC party

Deputy Minister of Information and Communications has threatened that government would not hesitate to shut down social media if users continue to create insecurity and pose threat to the peace of Sierra Leone.

Cornelius Deveaux was reacting to the statement of the President of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists, (SLAJ) Kelvin Lewis, who on the cerebration of the World Press Freedom Day cautioned the government of Sierra Leone not to unnecessarily shut down social media ahead of the 2018 elections.

Deveaux  said government has the responsibility to ensure that political discuss does  not degenerate to personal attack, adding  that over the years, individuals have been using social media for their personal vendetta, thus creating  tension among Sierra Leoneans.

He said if the social media does not in any way provide the platform for free, fair and credible elections; government would be left with no option but to ban it at the height of the elections.

“Government will not encourage anything that would undermine the success of the conduct of the forthcoming general elections. Those who have been invited based on the use of social media have been using that platform to create problem. We will not countenance the statement made by the president of SLAJ because it is misguided,” he said.

Meanwhile, social media has over the years played a crucial role in drawing attention to Sierra Leone political situation. Amnesty International has joined appeal for the government of President Ernest Koroma to stop using Ebola emergency measures to curb freedom of speech and assembly.

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