NATCOM Threatens Control of Social Media

By Alhaji Koroma

Momoh Konteh, Chairman National Telecommunications Company in a pubic talk at Levuma Gbagbo in Bo district said he has signed an agreement with management of Facebook (a widely used social media site) for the monitoring of derogatory materials online.

According to him, things have been understood that “Facebook users have been misusing opportunity given them.”
He claimed the agreement will ensure that Facebook users are held accountable for information they share on the site.

“Facebook users are using the social media as a conduit to attack government officials and other peaceful business personalities in the country,” he said.

He noted however that Facebook should be used as a platform to express views, make friends, educate and entertain others.

Momoh has not been the first of a public official to have threatened social media suppression in the country.

Even past and present Information Ministers have made similar statements as to laws restricting the social media in Sierra Leone.

Such statements from especially government ministers have been meted with condemnations by citizens.
But Mohamed Kamarainba Mansaray, Leader/Chairman of opposition Alliance Democratic Party has said such statements from government officials have implications of governance weaknesses.

“If government officials are in fact performing well, the social media would have been for them, with uploads, posts and comments giving appraisals to their administration. It is only an unpopular government that becomes panic over social media criticisms,” he averred.

Kamarainba additional said that the social media may affect APC’s chances of winning the forthcoming national elections, because Sierra Leoneans have come to rely more on posts coming from the social media than the conventional media, which he claimed are mostly used by governments for propaganda.

“Why afraid of the social media if you are working in the interest of the people,” he asked.

Meanwhile, a Civil Society Organisation, CHRDI, has condemned the statement of Momoh, compelling him provide an enabling environment for access to the internet and not work against it.

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