Addis Ababa January 04/2018 Some opposition parties have cautioned the youth to develop the capacity to filter facts from fabrications and shun poisonous information disseminated through the social and mainstream media.
Data show that about 53 million Ethiopians use mobile phone, 16.5 million Internet, and 4.5 million facebook. Out of the 4.5 million facebook users 83 percent are youth.
In an exclusive interview with ENA, Unity for Democracy and Justice Party President Tigistu Awolu said hate speech disseminated in the social media will never help to attain anything good.
According to him, hate speeches spread through the social media are leading the nation to unnecessary extremism. “We condemn involvement in such acts that put the country's survival at risk, and any group working to promote the needs and desires of the Ethiopian people would never take part in these acts.”
The President added that all must strongly condemn the recent agitations that could lead to ethnic conflict by utilizing the social media. Ethiopians must not also forget that to live in harmony means developing mutual love and trust.
“We can only build our country by entertaining political dialogues among different ideologies and working hand-in-hand for the unconditional prevalence of peace, for we will never be able to move towards achieving any of our objectives without it,” Tigistu underscored.
The President said political parties need to come to the fore and speak out loudly about the indispensability of peace to maintain stability of the nation. This could be done in an integrated and collaborative manner.
“Being a country that is battling with poverty, I do not think we have to go back to where we were by engaging in such types of conflict that diminish our hopes for the young democracy to flourish,” he pointed out.
Tigistu advised the mainstream media to take measures to improve their services by providing timely and reliable information and become alternative sources of information to the social media.
Ethiopian Democratic Union Deputy Chairman, Gebru Berhe said on his part the youth has to be selective and not believe all the information disseminated in social media.
“Those who are engaged in disseminating information irresponsibly in the social media must keep in mind that both the public and history will hold them accountable for misleading the youth,” Gebru warned.
He urged the youth to always check and counter check the credibility of information disseminated in the media.
The current situation requires unprecedented and comprehensive efforts of all Ethiopians, Gebru stated, adding that “most of all the mainstream media need to work in creating awareness in the basic skills, pros and cons as well as the useful means of utilizing social media to the youth.”
Government Communication Affairs Office Social Media and Website Department Head, Bekele Ewnetu said the youth need to look for the positive impacts of social media and put it in effect.
“A long journey and more work await us to close the gap of awareness of the youth in interpreting the information in social media analytically and its expected outcome to strengthen democracy and facilitate development of the country,” he added.
According to the Head, more than 600 million of the 1.8 billion face book customers use fake account.
Bekele stated that “creating awareness in evaluating the personal, social and national value of the information is easier than trying to resort to legal procedures.”
People around the world encounter disturbances and instability due to irresponsible use of the social media that at times results in huge damage.