On­line, Off­line

The so­cial medium is a dou­ble-edged weapon that can be used to im­pact mul­ti­far­i­ous ob­jec­tives, both inside cy­berspace and out­side it.

Southasia - - 45 - By Shairose Ukanji

of so­cial me­dia while de­bat­ing so­cial and po­lit­i­cal is­sues. This gen­er­ated ex­treme pub­lic rage as this was con­sid­ered an in­fringe­ment of con­sti­tu­tional rights and in­di­vid­ual lib­erty. In the Mal­dives a per­sonal blog was shut down by the Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Author­ity of the Mal­dives in Novem­ber 2011 on grounds of pro­mot­ing re­li­gio-po­lit­i­cal sen­ti­ments.

To the con­trary, gov­ern­ments in Bhutan, Nepal and Bangladesh do not pay heed to the mat­ter be­cause and Free­dom of Ex­pres­sion held in Nepal, par­tic­i­pants from all over the re­gion signed a joint pe­ti­tion to high­light the im­por­tance of so­cial me­dia and how it can strengthen democ­racy in their re­spec­tive coun­tries.

The dilemma is that gov­ern­ments have now re­al­ized that peo­ple are ca­pa­ble of or­ga­niz­ing them­selves on­line to cre­ate an im­pact off­line. The fact is that the in­verse flow of ex­per­tise and opin­ion no longer star­tles gov­ern­ments to the core. No one can deny

Of­ten, ideas and opin­ions can only be coun­tered by other ideas and opin­ions. The pub­lic must be al­lowed to have their say and set their agen­das be­cause the more such ob­jec­tives sur­face, the more di­a­logue will be cre­ated. And that would be the ab­so­lute ac­com­plish­ment! Shairose Ukanji has stud­ied Ad­ver­tis­ing and Pub­lic Re­la­tions and is a free­lance con­trib­u­tor to na­tional dailies.

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