Leaders, politicians urged to avoid harmful content online

MOROGORO: LEADERS and politicians have been urged to be cautious with the content they share on social media platforms to avoid misuse of the information that can affect them and the society in general.

Morogoro District Commissioner, Rebeca Nsemwa issued the advice in her speech which was read on her behalf by Morogoro District Administrative Secretary, Ms Ruth John at the opening of a capacity building session on Data Protection and Digital Security to women councilors and young political leaders.

The session was held in Morogoro on Tuesday, drawing participants from Dar es Salaam, Coast and Morogoro regions. It was organised by Tanzania Media for Community Development (TAMCODE) in collaboration with Youth, Environmental Justice and Gender Equality (YOGE) and Article 19.

Ms John said that the training has come at an opportune time, given that the country is undergoing a period of rapid technological advancement in various aspects, including political and economic.

“In recent years, we have witnessed women politicians and leaders facing severe online violence and attacks from ill-intentioned individuals,” she noted.

“This training is crucial for empowering and educating women and young people in various decisionmaking positions. It also equips them with the knowledge and skills to protect information, counter online violence, and ensure safety for themselves and their information,” she said.

Ms John also urged the media to continue educating the public on data protection and digital security as well as highlighting the government’s achievements by prioritizing the nation’s best interests in order to maintain peace and unity by refraining from disseminating harmful content that could disrupt national peace and unity, as well as content that disparages the work being done by the government.

“This nation belongs to all of us; therefore, it is our collective responsibility to safeguard it and protect our dignity, along with the dignity of our leaders,” she said.

On her part, YOGE Executive Director, Advocate Philomena Mwalongo said the training aimed at empowering women and youth in the economic, political and technological spheres.

“We conducted research and found a significant gap on the participation of women leaders and politicians in identifying safe online practices, and not just to benefit the individual women who attended the training but also to reach other women in the society,” she said.

TAMCODE Executive Director, Rose Ngunangwa said that they decided to conduct the capacity building session after realizing the challenge facing women, including being attacked online especially during the election period, a situation that weakens their determination in contesting for various leadership positions,” she said.

“Women still lack adequate skills in using online platforms for economic empowerment, that is why TAMCODE, YOGE, and Article 19 have decided to start building the capacity of women councilors in coastal zone to enable them to use online platforms to market their policies ahead of local government election slated for later this year,” she explained.

Special Seats Councilor, Zamoyoni Abdallah from Bigwa Ward said that the training has helped them a lot to know how they can protect their information and use the social media to get important information and grab various opportunities.

“I was scared to post any information on social media due to intimidation and harassment being done against women, but after this training, I have learnt that the same platforms can be used to empower women if used correctly,” she said.

Mji Mpya Councilor in Morogoro Municipality, Ms Emmy Kiula called upon the government to impose stringent punishment against those who abuse the social media.

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