The recent heated debates on Mogadishu’s representation in the Upper House and arrangements for the upcoming federal elections by the Lower House and public remarks and speeches by some senior government officials, politicians and other prominent figures triggered inflammatory and hate speech, disinformation and confrontation among Somali social media users.
The recent political vague has coarsen public discourse and prompted unhealthy discussions and hate-fuelled tik-for-tats in the social media platforms. Since April 1, 2020, Bareedo Platform recorded 9,890 inflammatory posts, insults, hate and spread of violence against to particular clans, officials and public figures in the social media platforms.
One instance, some public figures have posted in the social media platforms, the list and cell-phones of MPs and popular figures whom they said are against the enactment of a bill that grants Mogadishu to have 13 representatives in the Upper House. Some other posts have been labelling some particular states or clans to be enemies of Mogadishu residents while their opponents reacted with similar gestures.
These incidents are highest ever to be recorded compared to 2,321 in 2019 and 1,521 in 2018. There has been similar incident that led to catastrophic tragedy in the past, and now these numbers are significant and enough to undermine the country’s political and social stability and peace.
It is essential and responsibility of public officials, politicians and general public, as well as the media, to assume their collective responsibility to promote tolerant and healthy discussions and refrain from any act that can ignite social unrest or violence.
The Federal Government and member states to to hold accountable those who incite violence or things that can endanger the country’s social and political stability while freedom of speech and expression are paramount values.
Bareedo Platform will produce detailed report with details of disinformation, fake news and threats against freedom of information in the digital theatre.