NEWS

Commission Gets Social Media Complaints: Raj

The Fiji Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission has received a number of complaints and concerns over social media posts that reportedly incite violence and hatred among communities. Since calling for
20 Nov 2018 13:24
Commission Gets Social Media Complaints: Raj
The Fiji Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission director Ashwin Raj.

The Fiji Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission has received a number of complaints and concerns over social media posts that reportedly incite violence and hatred among communities.

Since calling for members of the public yesterday to report fearlessly against individuals who are inciting violence on racial and religious grounds, the commission was overwhelmed with complaints. They were received through phone calls, text messages and screen shots of social media posts.

“It is imperative to note that concerns have been expressed by Indo-Fijian and iTaukei communities,” Commission Director Ashwin Raj said.

“The Fijian Constitution guarantees everyone equal treatment and protection under the law, including provisions to take action against those that incite violence on racial and religious grounds.

“The surge in hate speech on social media is a sad indictment of the fact that we have failed to understand how one should engage in responsible free speech in a democracy that respects inherent human dignity, recognises our fundamental human right to be free from violence and hatred.

“Ironically, these anti-government blog sites that are agitating for greater human rights and freedoms in Fiji have become the nestling ground for inciting hatred and violence on racial and religious grounds.”

Mr Raj added that, sadly, the hatred and incitement to violence was no longer confined to social media, but actually has, “as the number of complaints to the commission suggests, deepened divisions and instilled fear among various communities along racial and religious lines. It is all too reminiscent of 1987 and 2000 when communities lived in fear.

“Democracies can never be built on fear”.

Mr Raj said the commission was working closely with Fiji Police on these issues.

Acting Commissioner of Police Rusiate Tudravu encouraged members of the public to come forward and report these matters.

Police divisional command centres can be contacted on the following numbers at any time if you need assistance or would like to report such incidents.

Western Division Command Centre – 9905 457

Eastern Division Command Centre – 9905 563

Southern Division Command Centre – 9905 529

Northern Division Command Centre – 9905 722.

Edited by Epineri Vula

Feedback: selita.bolanavanua@fijisun.com.fj

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