Sunday, October 20, 2013

Social Media: A Tool To Grind Ax?

By Rabin Man Shakya

I am more than sure social media will explode with comments, reactions and photos about the second election of Nepal for the Constituent Assembly slated for November 19.

Use of social media for politician-people contacts is very high in advanced countries like US, UK, Canada, Germany etc. However, for reasons best known to our politicians, the use of information technology for reaching out to the people is very low in Nepal.

In US, for example, use of Twitters and Facebook by lawmakers for establishing a close rapport with the people is ever on the rise. 60 percent of Oregon's House Republicans and 43 percent of Oregon's House Democrats have Twitter accounts.

Speaking of the forthcoming Nepal vote, on the one hand, activists have begun to use social media to agitate against the dishonest and opportunistic politicians. On the other, the liberal-minded users of the information technology have started to campaign for the effective use of social media for creating election awareness.

Meanwhile, Nepalese political parties and their stalwarts have very well understood the importance of media as well as social media and their effects and impact on voters.

It has been reported that, for the purpose of election publicity and propaganda, a number of Nepalese political parties have officially endorsed the policy of using social media to the maximum extent. However, analysts say the political parties have an ax to grind for using social media for or against the political nemesis or allies.

It has also been reported that different kinds of web sites have been created for election publicity and propaganda. Therefore, there is no doubt about the 'ubiquitous' use as well as misuse of social media for election purpose. However, politicos should not wash their dirty linen in public by using the social media.

However, with social media deeply embedded with the educated-urban people, it is hoped the social media will enable to increase the election awareness, to reduce the election-related violence, election irregularities and gerrymandering.

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