Misusing Media

In August 2012, my little paradise has been rocked by several incidents to do with the use or rather the misuse of social networks or media.

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

0 thoughts on “Misusing Media”

  1. You forgot to mention the article on Defimedia and the author being suspended after the defimedia group published official appologies on their newspaper, both online and the traditional form of “media”,

    This shows that “comme quoi”, not only stupid teens make errors. Professional journalists are often subject to criticism too because articles being subjective, having different interpretations by the public.

    What is more alarming is the position taken by some said-religion group, which is demanding the ban of Facebook in the island, while they are themselves widely active on the social network. They have shown their wisdom in the matter once again.

    I believe that only awareness campaigns can put people on the right track. Educate youngsters on what they should do or not on the social media. Also, make sure that news editors moderate their own content carefully before it goes publicly available.

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