Education & Technology Opinion

Social media, the new protest placard

Trust Mauyasva
Written by Trust Mauyasva

Whenever there is a negative occurrence in life, normally an individual will react perhaps reasonably or irrationally.  This is quite a normal phenomenon that spreads even to tragic personal experiences.

At a larger scale, issues that impact negatively on a larger section of society lead to a spiral trend of outcry. In a much more vivid scenario such as the state and the citizens, any unpopular move could prove catastrophic.

However, social media has become a protest outlet and platform from which citizens can express their outrage without bearing the risk of teargas effects, stampedes, flogging from law and military personnel and even shootings.

Citizens have the right to express displeasure to certain laws, occurrences and position of government in their nations. That universal right offers them an outlet through which they can churn out their rage so long as they do not cause harm to others or to property.

Should their outlet be denied, fury is inflamed within and carried till it bursts out violently which is obviously catastrophic.

Popular social networking and microblogging platforms therefore have become the new age streets and their walls have become placards that contain their message to leadership.

The presence of more and more significant political actors online gives the audience a chance to issue and air out their grievances directly without been brushed aside by aides to these leaders.

As freedom to protest and speak openly are existent in most government fundamental principles documents across the globe, so should the internet space be opened up to accommodate divergent views by citizens towards those in positions of authority.

West and east Africa have in the past year had certain nations engulfed in protests over core goods price hikes, electoral and leadership displeasure and results have been internet blackouts for a long as 13 months, a more stern and severe approach by law enforcement towards citizens and of course massive arrests and detention of protest leaders.

Freedom of citizens is hindered should they be stringent gags on their voices. Rigorous curfews around peaceful protests eliminate an opportunity for there to be an upward thrust of communication from the state which is the people and the government.

Arrests over tweets, posts and mere hashtags snuff out the life of the last form of an outlet available to one thus disenfranchising the people of their right to speak out.

Social media therefore functions as the platform for the elected to be answerable to the electorate. It is the mode to ease the burden of a delegation travelling to and from the communities to the leaders offices to be responded to over matters that baffle them.

Leave a Comment