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If in most countries, the social media, has in recent years been widely used by people of all backgrounds to communicate and express views, in Seychelles, it has unfortunately been hijacked by opposition radicals for narrow political ends.

Social media sites have mushroomed over the past few years, to include ‘Seychelles Daily’, ‘Gossip Corner’ and ‘Break-in News’, among others used mostly by opposition supporters.
 In contrast ‘Dan Lari Bazar’ was intended to be pro-Government, but it is not uncommon for opposition stalwarts to also make use of it in their smear campaigns.
Most sites are so easy to navigate that they require very little knowledge of the internet.  In fact, they offer a better way of communicating with others than other internet channels such as emails.
That is  the reason no doubt, why opposition radicals  find  it a convenient terrain  for their abuse and obscene remarks.
While, some people use it to express their views and build social relations with others, who share similar or personal  or career interests, activities or real-life connections,  opposition stalwarts  navigate these sites  daily  to hurt others’ reputations  and spread  hatred within our community.
It is not uncommon for anyone making an objective statement, to be  insulted within minutes by intolerant characters who do not hesitate to use obscene  and  other remarks, which are unprintable. Such abuse stifle  healthy  debate  and the free flow of information for which, social media was intended.
For a long time, President James Michel bore the brunt of the abusive language and defamation on social media by radical elements within the opposition.
However, recently President France-Albert René is also being targeted.  This becomes even more cruel as Mr. René is being hit at a time that he is unwell and deserves all sympathy and compassion this nation can offer him after a lifetime dedicated to serve all Seychellois
One such regular abuser of the social media is Bernard Sullivan, who is particularly known for obscene, racist and other unsavoury remarks. His recent post against President René, speaks volumes about the character of the author.
Opposition leaders, such as Wavel Ramkalawan also post frequent statements on social media. They however never condemn those supporters who abuse of the sites to hurt others.
In November 2015, just weeks before the last presidential election, Ramkalawan won a libel suit in the Supreme Court against Christopher Gill, claiming his reputation had been hurt by remarks posted on social media, linking him to drugs.
He was awarded R 200,000 in damages and said: “Let this be a lesson for others!”  It has not been a lesson for those of his supporters who persist in sullying others daily.
If legislation against libel also applies to social media posts, as was the case for Ramkalawan, it is high time, such laws are also enforced to protect others residing in Seychelles.

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