𝗕𝘆 𝗥𝗶𝗰𝗵𝗮𝗿𝗱 𝗢𝗻𝗮𝗽𝗮𝘁𝘂𝗺
The katakwi district chairman, Geoffrey Omolo has condemned several social media platforms in the district.
Omolo in his speech during the recent fundraising in Usuk, 14th-8-2022, says that there are WhatsApp groups which he noted are platforms used to only abuse leaders.
“Instead of discussing developmental matters, we are busy wasting our time and MBS encouraging divisionism and conflict on WhatsApp.” Said Omolo.
social media as a tool politically is trending and so widely used in Katakwi district to explain the loop holes, achievements and as well as respond to falsehoods.
For close to one year now,99% of the top elected leaders in Teso are very quiet on social media and yet they are members on different social media platforms.
Knowledge and information have become transformative dimensions of our existence and are key drivers behind the implementation of all the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)From government to small villages, knowledge and information guides what people do and how they do it.
It is as obvious that SDG 9 cannot be attained without massive ICT investments in local populations, especially in remote and vulnerable communities so they can reach out to each other, form friendships and connections, and brainstorm their responses to crises in real-time.
Omolo an active member in katakwi WhatsApp groups notes that platforms like “Usuk na ikoto oni”, “Katakwi Youth Parliament” among others have deliberately indulged in spreading hate speech and extreme use of abusive language in their daily posts.“
Today morning I also posted and told them to continue with their witchcraft, the work of this platforms is to abuse and insult leaders, he said.
Omolo has urged social media members to aggressively use various media platforms to discuss and share developmental ideas.
If we misuse the Internet and social media, they can become echo chambers for fake news, hoaxes and hate speech.
people must learn how to use technology and information in ways appropriate to their needs and aspirations.
Social media stimulates citizen engagement with politicians who are brought closer to their potential voters through conversations on social media.
In 2021 the minister for Information Communication Technology ict and national guidance,Dr Chris Baryomunsi, said government was in the process of drafting a bill which will among others, punish persons who spread fake and illicit information.“
we government hall impose restrictions to ensure that social media and other communication platforms are used for good purposes and not for danger”. he said
How can the risks of social media be managed?
Social media usage in Uganda is on the rise social media has numerous advantages over traditional media, among them the affordability.
Media houses are no longer the main source of information as people easily take to social media to obtain any form of news they desire at any time.
Emmanuel Omayo a social media blogger says Social media users need to be educated about the dos and don’ts of social media, the dangers of abusive messages on social media and their liabilities in case of defamation, so that they can better manage their accounts.
He encourages forming social media saving saccos to minimize what transpires in the group discussions. “
“Some group members have social media excitement, and post anyhow to gather a following”, he said
What the law says
Ugandans who violate privacy of others, or stain others reputation, online will not be eligible to hold public office or stand for election, if convicted under provisions of a recently Tuesday 12th-July 2022 proposed law tabled in Parliament.
The object of the Bill tabled by Kampala Central Member of Parliament Muhammad Nsereko, is to “enhance the provisions on unauthorised access to information or data; to prohibit the sharing of any information relating to a child without authorisation from a parent or guardian; [and] to prohibit the sending or sharing of information that promotes hate speech”.
Abuse of social media include but not limited to writing, sending or sharing of any information through a computer, which is likely to ridicule, degrade or demean another person, group of persons, a tribe, an ethnicity, a religion or gender; create divisions among persons, a tribe, an ethnicity, a religion or gender; and or, promote hostility against a person, group of persons, a tribe, an ethnicity, a religion or gender.
Violations will lead to prosecution and, upon conviction, Shs15m penalty or time in jail.
Has the government embraced the use of social media
The government has over the years demonstrated that it has embraced social media by actively joining in through the various mediums such as Facebook and Twitter.
To this effect, all ministries and government departments have accounts through which citizens interact with government officials. Some of these include UCC, State House Uganda, Uganda Police, Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF), and Uganda Media Centre. These have eased communication between the government bodies and the citizens.
As far as civic engagement is concerned, there are several benefits that social media presents.