two steps back­wards

Lesotho Times - - Leader -

THERE is a car­toon of four ath­letes com­pet­ing on the race track that fre­quently does the rounds on so­cial me­dia where one, prob­a­bly fool­hardy con­tes­tant de­cides to run in the op­po­site di­rec­tion en­sur­ing the he would never win the race no mat­ter how fast he runs. The be­hav­iour by our gov­ern­ment in seek­ing to ban Face­book and Twit­ter is no dif­fer­ent from this car­toon char­ac­ter.

In the marathon race to­wards so­cio-eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment in a world which is ever shrink­ing, most coun­tries have em­braced and har­nessed the ben­e­fits of­fered by tech­nol­ogy in the form of so­cial me­dia where Face­book and Twit­ter have played a cru­cial role in cre­at­ing net­works and busi­ness syn­er­gies.

It goes with­out say­ing that these plat­forms have proved to be cheap af­ford­able means of com­mu­ni­ca­tion and yet our gov­ern­ment wants to take a great many steps back­wards in the di­rec­tion of the Stone Age. As we re­port else­where, Vo­da­com Le­sotho and Econet Tele­com Le­sotho have both re­ceived let­ters re­quest­ing them to jus­tify why Face­book and Twit­ter should not be sus­pended.

It was not very long ago when the coun­try was hailed for tak­ing gi­ant strides in im­ple­ment­ing re­forms to en­hance the ease of do­ing busi­ness in the coun­try. Just as we rightly praised them, now we urge the au­thor­i­ties to se­ri­ously re-think this mea­sure which is ret­ro­gres­sive. As one an­a­lyst pointed out this is not the best way of stem­ming abuse of so­cial me­dia.

Af­ter all, free speech and ex­pres­sion are con­sti­tu­tion­ally guar­an­teed. There are le­gal reme­dies where these are abused and as such there is no need for the kind of se­vere mea­sures that would have made Draco very proud. There is ab­so­lutely no need to shoot our­selves in the foot and draw neg­a­tive at­ten­tion to our­selves through mea­sures that un­der­mine civil lib­er­ties.

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