Use social media to create healthy political scene, urges lecturer
PUTRAJAYA: The rise of social media applications has provided individuals with a platform to spread extremist ideologies and false information, said an academician yesterday.
Universiti Teknologi Mara Communication and Media Studies Faculty lecturer Associate Professor Dr Ismail Sualman said the spread of extremist propaganda, including unverified information, was dangerous as it could influence the people.
“News, pictures and data spread on social media are often packaged as assumptions and accusations. They can dominate and shape a person’s perception of extremism.
“And to make matters worse, people are spreading messages they received without verifying them with relevant sources,” he said at the International Wasatiyyah Seminar 2017 held at Putrajaya International Convention Centre here, yesterday.
Ismail added that some social media users would label the information they shared as news even if they were fabricated.
“It is clear that these extreme perceptions are able to damage a country and its people.
“Bear in mind that these perceptions can only be used for one’s political gain.”
Such perceptions, he said, would not only create chaos and panic, but also erode the people’s trust in their leaders.
“Is it fair to let this go on? Freedom of expression is achieved, but at what cost?
“Is this the characteristic of a developed nation that we have dreamt of all this while?” he asked.
Ismail said “viral” information relating to extremism must be controlled to prevent “larger ” problems in the future.
He said political organisations, for example, must practise moderate politics to create a harmonious political arena.
“Maturity in politics is based on deep thought, data and arguments, especially from political parties.
“Sadly, many politicians today care more about their political mileage than upholding their own religion. If this continues, I fear that the government may not be able to implement its policies well and we may not remain a prosperous nation.”
Ismail called on Malaysians to make use of today’s technological advancements to create a healthy political scene that connected leaders with the people.
“I hope our leaders continue to use social media consistently to get feedback from the people. The opinions of citizens on economics and policies must also be taken into consideration.”
Associate Professor Dr Ismail Sualman