‘387 cases of hate speech tracked during Bayelsa, Kogi elections’

An election observers group, the Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD), has said that their situation room captured 387 instances of hate speeches during the Bayelsa and Kogi States governorship elections.

The Coordinator of Countering Hate Speech Project for CITAD, Mr Hamza Ibrahim, told journalists in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, during the post-election press briefing that all the number of hate speeches was captured on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.

According to Ibrahim, the CITAD analysis established that the hate speeches occurred in textual, video, pictorial and symbolic forms.

The group, however, drew the attention of the people of Bayelsa to the dangers and consequences of hate speech and warned them to avoid it.

He said: “Out of the total number of 387 of the captured hate speeches, 32% were ethic-based, 26% were election related, and they maintained lead in the last three months unlike before when religious related hate speech used to be at the top of the list.

“We also noticed rise in the volume of gendered hate speeches and hate speech related to issues of attention, most of the hate speech instances we saw and captured in the mentioned categories have election colouration.

“Before and during the gubernatorial election period, here in Bayelsa was polluted with hateful electioneering campaigns leading to the rampant usage of derogatory remarks and comments by members of the two main contending political parties, APC and PDP, particularly on social media platforms and campaign rallies.

“We are  equally worried that the hateful electioneering witnessed before the governorship poll has shaped the political discourse especially amongst young people in different online platforms towards ethnic and political intolerance, which itself is a major problem that can drive people into unhealthy discourse.

“We strongly appeal to social media users to be extremely careful about their posts/reactions, we urge that they do not share, like or comment on hateful and dangerous posts, rather, they should condemn it,” he said.

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