Two incidents involved the use of Facebook. One usurping photographs of young (under age) girls to display them in a lewd way. The others where people expressed insult towards a particular part of the community.
An occurrence which is very serious in nature was originated by a journalist in a blog article demeaning the Creole community as well as a religion.
The nature of what has been freely expressed by the people is so insulting that there is no doubt that it forms degrading people and in the latter case racial hatred. This brings in to question, or not, freedom of speech. For this island nation, where there are diverse communities living in harmony, such degrading and hateful speech can upset the sensitivities of many. The fact that, this particular incident, was initiated by a seasoned journalist who used the press to print an offensive tone is alarming. Was the purpose political or to simply incite violence? Difficult to read into this so-called intellectual mind. Needless to say the authorities started an investigation which followed by the newspaper removing the article and resignation of the journalist.
This has to serve as lesson that community harmony is so fragile that it needs to be nurtured. Thankfully, the authorities took up the challenge and have taken a firm stance against this kind of attitude. Harsh penalties are already provided for by the Mauritius ICT Act of 2001, as amended, including a fine not exceeding one million rupees and a term of imprisonment not beyond five years. However, some are still determined to use the media to provoke division. As a result the government will enforce existing legislation. Hopefully, the laws will not be misused to deter reasonable freedom of speech. The risk is that the excesses of a few stifles the freedom of others.
Notes: - The ICTA recommends a fair and responsible use of social networks - Mauritius Spam Protection Bill & Child Online Protection bill - Social Media Misuse That Could Cost You Big Time