Members of Parliament have decried the sad state of affairs when people lose perspective on the sanctity of human beings and perpetuate unpleasant actions in the name of creating awareness and spreading news.
According to members, the widespread phenomenon among Ghanaians on social media platforms sharing graphic images of the dead from accident scenes and in some cases bodies of deceased persons at the morgues is disconcerting.
The members argued that this unfortunate phenomenon is not part of Ghanaian culture and tradition and must stop.
They indicated that there is urgent need for law enforcement agencies to ensure strict adherence to existing laws and enacting new ones to deal with human rights.
In a statement delivered by member for New Edubiase, Hon. George Boahene Oduro, he noted that posting pictures of dead persons and innocent victims on social media platforms is an affront to Ghanaian culture.
The distribution of such images, he said, is unacceptable because it could cause psychological trauma to family members of victims.
“The idea that such sharing would raise awareness to the extent of sadness in the news is totally wrong,” he stated.
“Mr. Speaker, years ago certain rituals were performed for deceased persons as an expression of honor for the life lived on earth.”
“The death and funeral were expected to be observed with such solemnity and respect for the departed soul that children were not permitted to come near dead bodies or in some cases the funeral grounds.”
“These were ways used to show our utmost respect, a final one for the dead. So posting pictures of dead bodies on social media smacks of disrespect for the dead,” he said.
Hon. Boahene argued that whatever is impermissible to do is also impermissible to look and therefore anyone who comes across such graphic images of corpses must delete them.
“We all have enough sins on our shoulders and certainly do not need to keep a counter going through having others adding to it by looking at what we post on our timelines,” he added.
Member of Parliament for Tamale North, Hon. Alhassan Suhuyini, who contributed to the statement, noted that social media is corrupting the traditional social norms of the country and stressed that the solution does not lie entirely with legislation.
He argued that legislation cannot address what responsible parenting and upbringing of children can do and stated that making laws should not make Ghanaians irresponsible as leaders and parents.
Hon. Suhiyini noted that acceptable social norms have eroded to such an extent that people no longer know what acceptable behaviour is and what is not.
“There is no legislation that would make people understand the difference between acceptable and unacceptable behaviours within the context of our social norms,” he said.
He argued that proper upbringing of children comprises teaching the child the level of restraint they must have and the empathy they must show for other people.
“People at an accident scene excited about the suffering of others and taking pictures of the gory sight is indicative of total breakdown of our social norms and there is no legislation that can correct this.”
“People recording nudity and finding nothing wrong with sharing such nudity confirms social norms have broken down and people no longer have the self-control that is expected to be exhibited as thought by the Ghanaian culture and tradition through upbringing.”
He urged parents to instill some level of discipline and control in the use of the internet by their wards and stop them from visiting improper websites and also sharing almost everything on their social media pages.
By Osumanu Al-Hassanfirstname.lastname@example.org