Use social media for constructive debate

June 30, 2014 1:39 pm
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Speaking during the commemoration of the World Social Media Day, The Director of Digital, New Media and Diaspora Affairs in the Presidency Dennis Itumbi emphasised the need for users to desist from engaging in hate speech or cyber bullying/FILE
Speaking during the commemoration of the World Social Media Day, The Director of Digital, New Media and Diaspora Affairs in the Presidency Dennis Itumbi emphasised the need for users to desist from engaging in hate speech or cyber bullying/FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 30 – Social media users in Kenya are being urged to make responsible use of the vibrant platform as it may have either a positive or a negative impact on the society.

Speaking during the commemoration of the World Social Media Day, The Director of Digital, New Media and Diaspora Affairs in the Presidency Dennis Itumbi emphasised the need for users to desist from engaging in hate speech or cyber bullying.

He further stressed the need for a body to be formed to regulate social media use, to ensure that the medium is not mismanaged or misused.

“I think some of us assume that we in the government do not know who is engaging in hate campaigns within the social media. I assure you that the skills we have in the digital media department within the government are deep and we know who is running what account and any other things,” he said.

“The reason why we have not moved is because we need a legal structure. Now it is going to go through and it will be very unfortunate if you are going to be the first person to suffer from the law.”

He stated that rather than focus too much on controversy, Kenyans should step up and debate issues which affect them on a daily basis.

“I don’t have to discuss from Monday to Monday about Uhuru Kenyatta or Raila Odinga. There are things that affect and impact our lives. If for instance we discuss about taking bribes for a day, I think we can make a great impact in our country on people. We can discuss subjects which divide us the whole day, but can we have just one moment a day and discuss about what unites us,” he said.

His sentiments were echoed by the Vice Chairman of the Editors’ Guild David Ohito who pointed out that social media should be diversified so as to generate income.

“What concerned the world editors was how they can use social media to grow their products, circulations, readership and audiences and over and above that, how do you make revenues out of them. Have you ever looked at how we can turn around those numbers into revenue streams so that we can grow money out of our pockets, and from this country,” he stated.

The World Social Media Day was launched in 2010 as a way to recognise the digital revolution and the commemoration and today marked the fifth annual Social Media Day worldwide.

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