Activist raises alarm on hate speech and propaganda

By Philip Buda Ladu

A civil society activist said the recent upsurge in armed communal violence across the country has led to sharp increase in hate speech and hostile propaganda among the South Sudanese through the use of the social media. 

Edmund Yakani, Executive Director of the Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO) said the trend of hate speech and hostile propaganda including use of some fake images to promote hate and friction among the communities in the various social media platforms is disturbing and worrying.   

Mr. Yakani underlined that the common perpetrators of this negative development in the social media are intellectuals. He urged the intellectuals across the country and abroad to defy hate and abolish hostile propaganda.

“The recent use of social media platforms for breaking social fabric among the communities is too sharp and driving the elites to systematic loss of social cohesion and values of peaceful co-existences” underscored Mr. Edmund Yakani.

“The leadership of the country sincerely requires doing something to rescue the values of peaceful co-existence among the communities. Hate speech and hostile propaganda in social media platforms in the recent months namely; January and February, 2022 have sharply increased and posting threat on the sense of peaceful co-existence among communities” he asserted.

The violence in Baidit payam of Jonglei, Twic-Ngok areas in Warrap, Agoro and Abara areas of Magwi County, Ruweng-Unity; Tonj East and Rumbek North and Tombura-Yambio incidences among others have contributed in the increase of hate speech and hostile propaganda among the elites of various communities in the various platforms of social media. 

The activist stressed that numerous, WhatsApp groups and Facebook pages were created due to the deadly communal violence.

“The abuse of social media increasingly is getting worse and this is due to the slow government response to the on-going deadly communal violence” said Yakani.

“CEPO is urging the various communities’ elites to abstain from abusing the use of social media for promotion of violent culture among the communities. Social media platforms offer opportunities of interaction among the people. It will be good if we can use various social media platforms for promotion of peaceful co-existence and rebuilding the broken social fabric among our communities” Mr. Yakani emphasized.

The CEPO’s Executive Director urged various government institutions to take pro-active role in preventing occurrence of deadly violence among the communities across the country.

He added that the National and State governments’ authorities should establish effective and functional conflict early warming and early response institutions saying the on-going armed communal violence is breaking down the social fabric among the various communities of South Sudan. Yakani said CEPO will approach the leadership of the Council of States for deliberations and engagement on institutionalization of the state’s conflict early warming and early response system in partnership with peace building and reconciliation institutions.

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