Social Media

PM: Stop the ‘trolls’ on social media

The Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has highlighted the increasing misuse of social media by some individuals and groups trying to “stir up hatred against their fellow Fijians on ethnic or religious grounds”. The Prime Minister, highlighted this while speaking at the University of the South Pacific’s Open Day at the Laucala Campus this morning. BAINIMARAMA: “I want […]

Peni Shute

July 29, 2016 11:28 am

The Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has highlighted the increasing misuse of social media by some individuals and groups trying to “stir up hatred against their fellow Fijians on ethnic or religious grounds”.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama. (Fijian Government)
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama. (Fijian Government)

The Prime Minister, highlighted this while speaking at the University of the South Pacific’s Open Day at the Laucala Campus this morning.

BAINIMARAMA: “I want to say something about the increasing misuse of social media by some people to cause division and upset. And especially the targeted abuse of innocent people on ethnic or religious grounds, which we are seeing far too much of in Fiji at the present time.”

The Prime Minister requested youths who were present at the event this morning to expose such people.

BAINIMARAMA: “I ask you all to do what you can to expose such people. To confront their messages of hate and their threats of violence. Some of these trolls and cyber thugs either act anonymously or steal other people’s identities by setting up false accounts.”

The PM said social media such as Facebook and Twitter could be a powerful force for good, in keeping people connected and for the exchange of information and ideas.

BAINIMARAMA: “That is how I would encourage you all to use it – as a means of bringing people together.”

He said everyone who uses social media needed to be alert to these individuals and to shame them.

BAINIMARAMA: “Let me be quite clear about this. It is not a question of threatening free speech. Political criticism is perfectly acceptable and, indeed, is an important part of our democracy. And we encourage it. But inciting hatred against someone because of their ethnicity or their religion is a crime under Fijian law and the laws of many other countries, including our bigger neighbours.”

The PM stated that Fiji is mercifully free of the racial and religious violence that plagues certain other countries and that he is determined to keep it that way.

BAINIMARAMA: “And that means coming down hard on those who incite the kind of hatred that can easily lead to violence if it is not contained – a breakdown of law and order that we have seen in Fiji before but will never tolerate again.”

He said that freedom of expression is a vital component of any democracy and is, in fact, guaranteed by the Constitution.

BAINIMARAMA: “I wanted to say all this here today not only to an audience of young people who are the main users of social media in Fiji but to make an important point…But it is not an absolute right. With freedom comes responsibility – a responsibility to keep our society cohesive and protect the rights of every citizen.”

PM Bainimarama also encouraged the students to work hard and fulfil their dreams to help make the world a better place.

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