Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL) has barred its staff from sharing their opinions on social media without first publishing it on the company’s platforms.
The directive was contained in a new Social Media Policy, being rolled out by the state-owned media organisation.
The roll-out of the policy has sparked uproar among staff at the organisation who described it as a crude way of gagging freedom of expression.
“We just don’t understand this; it is bad, Graphic is a leading brand in Ghana and we are preventing our own from sharing their personal views on social media. It is distasteful and must be reversed by management,” one staff told Starrfm.com.gh.
“At a period where there is tension over media freedom, such directives shouldn’t come up at all,” another staff added pleading anonymity.
According to Starrfm.com.gh sources, the Director of News of the state-owned media house Mrs Mavis Kitcher communicated the directive to staff, coming at a time when the management of the company had been inundated with reports of alleged unsavoury comments by some staff, especially journalists on Facebook.
Management says some of these comments have the potential to deter businesses from associating with the brand.
Commenting on the development in a Starr News interview, Emmanuel Agyei Arthur, Graphic Corporate Communications Manager said the company believes the policy would help it to run professionally as a business.
He rejected the staff’s concerns of gagging saying: “It’s not a gagging order. It is a social media policy… I am not saying that they do not have the right to comment on issues. We are saying that we believe that we have some of the most respected reporters and staff in this country, their opinions are respected. So, if they have opinions they should put them on our platform which also forms part of the social media landscape.
“So, if you have an opinion on any issue you put on Graphic Online it is part of the social media platform.”
“We haven’t said they cannot comment but they should comment on our platform. If you put it there, you can put it anywhere. Nobody really cares but it must be first on our platforms so that the benefit of you being followed now gets to the organisation because that’s where you get your daily bread,” Mr. Arthur stated.