It is 2023 and calling out injustices via social media is all the rage. While a certain fraction of our populace who are stuck in the past only view social media as a nuisance, and seek to stifle its use, there are those that have put it to good use in a way that adds value to our society.
It is common practice today for a service provider or public servant to be called out on social media for shoddy work, poor services or abuse of human rights for all to see. These messages usually get quick responses from the ‘culprit’ because they are very public and no one wants to be hanged in the court of public opinion whose courtroom is social media.
For instance, this week, Entebbe International Airport has been in the eye of the storm over cases of bribery and extortion.
In one of the cases, a member of the aviation security staff was filmed at Entebbe International Airport seemingly negotiating with a passenger for Shs400, 000 bribe to facilitate their travel. When this video went viral on social media, the staff member in question was arrested.
Such recordings shared on social media usually trigger a bevy of other complaints from victims of the same injustice and in turn rally for justice to prevail. While it is true that some of the content must be consumed with a fat pinch of salt, due to perhaps, exaggerations and stage management, abuse of privacy, promotion of distasteful, polarizing information or taking an innocent act out of context, the forums can be quite useful.
It is in the same breath that civil society organizations (CSOs) have asked Ugandans to continue utilizing social media platforms to fight injustices in public offices.
Mr Henry Muguzi, the executive director of Alliance for Finance Monitoring, pointed out that in the era of digitalisation, more citizens should rise up and utilize social media to push for changes and correct wrongs in society.
“The more we share, the more we shall build knowledge and instigate and encourage citizens to occupy their rightful mandate as prescribed in the Constitution of Uganda. We can do this by ourselves using our mobile phone numbers and digital platforms to make sure that we name and shame these acts,” he said. (See “Ugandans tipped on using social media to fight public injustices” Daily Monitor January 24)
So yes, social media when used responsibly can be useful and should therefore be embraced as part of the disruptions and innovations that cannot be wished, locked or punished away. Service providers would do well to pay attention to it and have a working social media plan lest they are caught up in the merciless court called social media.