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2023 elections and uncontrolled cyber bullying

Since the commencement of primary elections in the country earlier this year, there have been heightened activities in the political environment.   The political parties, their…

Since the commencement of primary elections in the country earlier this year, there have been heightened activities in the political environment.  

The political parties, their candidates and supporters expectedly, have continued to deploy various tools at their disposal to convince the Nigerian masses on why they are better than the opposition.  Unfortunately, sometimes, issue-based discourses are relegated to the background while personal attacks, sheer mischief, name-calling and exchange of verbal missiles become the order of the day.  

These are all carried out through the social media which has become the most accessible means of communication. It is a ground where all parties enjoy equal right to reach out to the rest of the citizens.

However the gross abuse of the virtual space has created concern in the minds of many on whether the country will not be boxed into voter apathy next year which likely may impact on the credibility of the polls.  

The trends in recent times indicate a clear lack of tolerance for plurality of opinions, an unbridled desire to unleash personal attacks, haul avalanches of insults and intimidate individuals from freely exercising their right to freedom of speech without being fiercely bullied on the social media space by a mob of overzealous supporters.  

Most times, open threats are freely dished out on social media in reaction to people’s indifference or political alignment, which negate citizens’ rights to association and to hold opinion.  

Media organisations have a huge responsibility to ensure that they perform the role of gate-keeping to forestall further pollution of the environment with hate and utterances capable of exacerbating the already precarious environment of insecurity, tension, economic downturn, poverty and disease.  

A calm environment is a prelude to peaceful and credible election. All parties must ensure this is achieved in 2023 and beyond.  

 

Enemanna, an Abuja-based journalist, wrote via [email protected]  

 

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