Inquiry into 2021 General Elections laments on pros/cons of Social Media

SHARE NOW

Technology and social media played a significant part in the General Elections 2021. This is outlined in the Electoral Commission Inquiry 72-page report. 

The report noted that it cannot be denied that Facebook and various other social media platforms relayed information and engaged communication for the elections most effectively by voters, candidates, and the general public. 

Whilst this is acknowledged positively, there is also a downside in that social media and technology were used in a most toxic, divisive, and destructive manner through profanities, threats, and derogatory language, which affected voters, candidates, families, and political parties alike.

Even after the elections, some people continue to use social media in such a way wrongfully. The Commission confirms that social media and information technology are a fact of modern life. 

However, it is recommended that the Ministry of Information Technology have policies, practices, and penalties to curb the wrongful use of the Internet and social media. 

It is recommended that: 

  1. The Ministry of Communication and Information Technology thoroughly prepares Legislation and Policies that ensure the control of online technology and social media for political campaigning. Furthermore, proper and effective penalties should be imposed for those who misuse online technology and social media to slur or discredit political candidates and figures. This is also an area whereby Political Parties should be liable if they are actively involved in slander and other means of defaming political opponents.
  2. Office of Electoral Commission to conduct awareness programs for the public to be fully informed of the severe penalties for unlawful use of information technology and social media.