NEWS

Police Warn Of Social Media Trend

A disturbing trend has emerged on social media in recent days where fake accounts under Muslim names have been created through which comments were made to incite hatred against the
16 Dec 2017 11:18
Police Warn Of Social Media Trend

A disturbing trend has emerged on social media in recent days where fake accounts under Muslim names have been created through which comments were made to incite hatred against the Muslim community are spread.

And, what is more disturbing is that a number of people are taking it to be real and some comments made in retaliation are worrying.

Police Commissioner Brigadier-General Sitiveni Qiliho said Police too have taken note of the recent increase in such accounts which are obviously aimed at inciting discord amongst Fijians.

“Unfortunately this has picked up momentum recently. We are looking into these accounts and comments through provisions in our law which criminalises hate speech,” Brigadier-General Qiliho said.

“We are taking this very seriously and those who are found to be the culprits will face the full brunt of the law.

“Given Fiji’s history and what led to 1987 and 2000 we cannot allow for such hatred to be incited on social media.”

Posts with fake Muslim names have been posted up on forums such as Chat (Fiji) and Fiji Exposed Forum and sinister comments follow where the entire Muslim community is being vilified.

And religious organisations have condemned this.

Sanatan Dharm Pratinidhi Sabha Fiji national secretary Virendra Lal said: “Fiji is a secular state. We are allowed to celebrate our individual religions and we have the freedom of expression and freedom to practice our own religion.

“I don’t see any reason why people are doing these things, if they are doing it, I think they should stop. I think it is because of next year’s elections and people are trying to incite all these things. This is wrong.

“We as a religious organisation we do not support any political party but whatever is happening is not right.

“It should stop and any person in his right mind will know.

“By doing this it’s influencing others to be part of creating religious differences, as responsible citizens we should stop it. People have their right to vote for whoever they want.

“We as an organisation, we condemn this and are asking our followers if you are doing so or are a part of this to please stop and do the right thing.

“We don’t want people to get involved in this dirty politics and do clean campaign. So far there has been no pressure on people, people can express their views freely but inciting and expressing views freely are two different things. We hope people will refrain from this.”

Archbishop Peter Loy Chong of the Catholic Church said: “For Catholics we believe in interreligious dialogue and respect, we believe that God is present in Christianity, Hinduism and Islam. We don’t subscribe to any anti-religious conversation.”

The Then India Sanmarga Ikya (TISI) Sangam secretary general Damend Gounder said: “If people are creating fake names on social media, those people are dishonest. We do not support anything that deals with dishonesty.

“TISI Sangam has never supported religious discrimination and TISI has always been an inclusive organisation of all religions.”

Methodist Church of Fiji and Rotuma outgoing President Reverend Tevita Banivanua said these acts cannot be tolerated and it is not in any religious law to incite racial discrimination.

He said hate speech and all should not be condoned and it should be a warning to people, they must use their real names on social media.

“It’s rude to use some other names and create discrimination on other religions. We are all equal.”

Edited by Ranoba Baoa

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