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University of Ghana Demonstration: fictional or factual?

Photo source: KuulPeeps 4 mins read

Photos and videos purport a demonstration happened on Friday 8 January 2021 on Legon campus by University of Ghana students against a double-track system and academic modular system.

Photos and videos making claims of an ongoing demonstration on Legon campus are dated. There was no demonstration held on the proposed date due to a low turn out of protesters. 

Full text

Ghana Twitter was buzzing with the trending hashtag #LegonDemonstration on Friday 8 January, 2021, where several users suggested in videos and photos that there was an ongoing demonstration happening on the University of Ghana, Legon campus. The alleged story of an ongoing demonstration has also been featured on some sites including GhanaTalksRadio

Even though the demonstration was truly organised by a group, ‘Concerned Students of the University of Ghana,’ to be held on the said date to protest against the double track system and academic modular for students suggested by the Management of the University, some Twitter users have debunked the claims of the demonstration being held, stating the all such videos and photos pushing the narrative are false.

Verification

Dubawa subjected the video and photo purporting that a demonstration was ongoing on Friday 8th January 2021 on the University of Ghana Legon campus to investigation, and found both cases of the video and photo to be dated. 

Context of video

The 30-second video shows a group of people predominantly in red ‘charging’. 

Charging is a ritual of clapping, dancing, singing, drumming, and firing of arms mostly by male residents of Commonwealth Hall in the University of Ghana, who accessorise with red, performed either in the hall or as a procession on the streets of the campus. In this video, it appears to have been performed at the parking lot of Legon Hall’s Annex B building which overlooks the Sarbah field. 

Analysis of video

Firstly, the angle of the shooting of the video suggests that it was taken at a time school was in session. The recorder of the video, whose voice is identified to be female, was positioned on a high floor in the hall making comments with others around her, while looking on down at the ‘charging’ happening at the car park. This raises doubts of the video being associated with the alleged demonstration since school had not yet resumed then. 

Additionally, using the InVid Image Magnifier on key frames in the video, there is evidence of a group of people in graduating gowns and white shirts accompanying the alleged group of protesters. 

Source: InVid Image Magnifier 

This is corroborated with comments in the thread of the post, debunking the video as old and revealing that it was on an occasion of a matriculation in 2018 where the charging was performed by Commonwealth residents as an initiation for their fresh year students.

Source: @duah_desmond
Source: @koobo_password1

Context of the photo

Dubawa further ran the photo which suggests that the demonstration was ongoing and was found to be dated. 

A Google Reverse Image Search shows that the photo has been on the Internet for at least two years. In a RadioUnivers report published in 2019, the photo was accompanied with the story of ‘students’ agitation over the possible privatization of four halls of residence’ at the time and was not associated with an alleged ongoing demonstration exercise on Friday 8 January, 2021. 

Dubawa also contacted a reporter at the University of Ghana-based radio station, RadioUnivers, to confirm details of the alleged demonstration. The reporter, Jeffrey Nyabor, told Dubawa that there was no demonstration held on Friday 8th of January 2021.

“They planned to demonstrate but it didn’t come off because people didn’t show up. Some of the protestors came around, about eight or so- just a handful- but there was no demonstration. One of the leaders told us it would have to be rescheduled,” Nyabor said.

Also, neither mainstream media nor RadioUnivers has reported on an alleged  demonstration held at Legon on the said date. Rather, it was reported that a meeting involving student leaders and the University management scheduled on the same date to discuss the modular for the academic year, which was one of the reasons for the planned demonstration, has consequently been extended.

Conclusion: 

The video and photo circulating on Twitter suggesting that a demonstration at Legon campus was ongoing on Friday 8 January, 2021 is false. The multimedia formats are dated content that happened on different occasions on the University campus, and not associated with the planned #LegonDemonstration. The demonstration could not be held at all on the said date owing to a low turnout of protesters. 

Maxine Gloria Danso is a Senior Researcher with Dubawa Ghana. Maxine has previously worked as a Research Assistant engaging in some notable communication research projects in Ghana, having completed a Master of Philosophy programme in Communication Studies at the University of Ghana, with specialisation in journalism, public relations and advertising. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and French from the University of Ghana, with a University Diploma in French Studies from Université Rennes 2 in France. Maxine contributes to the team by drawing from her knowledge and research experience in media studies.

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