Saturday, April 30, 2011

'Censoring' your status updates, tweets etc on social media

National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) has indicated that they plan to track any hate speech on social media and promptly nab any wayward status updates on Facebook, racial or discriminative tweets on twitter and all other social media.

The following is my honest take on this:

It is important to know how to communicate by taking into consideration your audience and a myriad of other factors like the time of your talk. However, how can this be done when 'saying' something online? The internet is accessible by the whole world! Anyway, social media has greatly helped the revolution in the North African Nations of Tunisia and Egypt ( and the Arab world) and the revolution is virally spreading further to Libya, Mali and a host of other nations; even closer home, to our next door neighbour, Uganda – I don’t like the treatment being meted out to Besigye and company – it is barbaric and a crime against humanity: unfair and the highest level of cowardice. This might be trigger like that of the young Tunisian man setting him ablaze that set the whole country ablaze and ultimately set it free!

I have tracked some of the comments and status updates on Facebook (and I want to single this media out), and I can say that they are quite diabolical in the heavy tribal undertones some of them have. Sometimes I feel that we bash our politicians when all of us indeed might do precisely what the politicians do and say. It is embarrassing and irritating at the same time. Unfortunately this is the case despite the fact that some of those comments are being made by people who are below 40 years - whom one expects to be more open minded and have less baggage of tribes and races in their blood and even talk. But if those comments are anything to go by, then Kenya has a long journey to go before we reach that Promised Land. Probably some 40 biblical years can do for Kenya to reach the Promised Land, our Canaan.

One thing is for sure: NCIC will not have easy work trying to locate these guys. This is due to the fact that they use pseudonyms rather than their real names when posting some nasty comments - this itself means that they know it is wrong and hence cannot afford to identify themselves. However, in a worst case scenario, every device connected to the Net can be uniquely identified by an IP address which can be located to an individual (device) – this way these guys cannot hide forever.

However, why hide if you believe that what you are saying is right? Just say it and even if people might not agree with you now you will be their hero tomorrow, once you convince them. Have the muscle, the stamina and the courage to stand up for your ideas and you will stand to be counted later on; when vindicated by time.

Stop hate speech to have a freerer world.
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