Emergence of Social Media Challenges Freedom of Expression, Says Legal Scholar

During the fifth KNUST Faculty of Law Eminent Legal Scholars and Lawyers Public Lecture Series held on Wednesday, March 27, 2024, esteemed keynote speaker, Prof. Justice Sir Dennis Dominic Adjei, a Judge of the African Court and Justice of the Court of Appeal in Ghana, addressed a pressing concern: the impact of social media on freedom of expression. Prof. Adjei highlighted how the proliferation of social media platforms has blurred the boundaries of freedom of expression, presenting both opportunities and challenges.

Social media, he explained, serves as a digital conduit for sharing information and opinions, with platforms like WhatsApp, Instagram, Twitter, and Reddit being utilized by approximately 59% of the global population. While the primary intention behind the development of social media was to facilitate the dissemination of information and foster freedom of expression, Prof. Adjei noted its misuse.

He emphasized that individuals exploit social media’s unregulated nature to propagate false information, tarnish reputations, and even engage in criminal activities such as sextortion. One of the key issues raised by Prof. Adjei was the difficulty of holding individuals accountable for their actions on social media.

Due to jurisdictional limitations and the anonymity afforded by online platforms, perpetrators often evade legal repercussions for their harmful activities. To address these challenges, Prof. Adjei proposed the implementation of universal laws that transcend geographical boundaries.

Such laws would enable authorities to sanction individuals regardless of their location, thereby promoting accountability and deterring misuse of social media platforms. In conclusion, Prof. Justice Sir Dennis Dominic Adjei’s insightful lecture shed light on the complex interplay between social media and freedom of expression, urging for legal frameworks that safeguard fundamental rights while curbing abuses in the digital realm.