Social media at time of political upheaval
CURRENT political turmoil in the country has influenced every strata of society.The flow of information is unprecedented due to availability of fast means of communication such as vast presence of electronic media channels as well as social media platforms.
Pakistani nation is basically a democratic society which loves their leadership and eagerly participates in political process.The massive turnout during successive elections is clear evidence.
Previously due to lack of free and swift information on government owned communication channels i.e.
PTV and Radio Pakistan, people mostly used to switch to independent media outlets operating from third country such as BBC Radio Service, which had large audience even in remote areas where radio transmissions were available.
However, due to internet revolution, thanks to social media platforms and availability of technology such as web 3.0 now it is possible to get information instantly.
This has certainly given rise to availability of raw information to the audience irrespective of their age and education.
Displaying sentimental/glamorous pictures of leaders with catchy captions are certainly influencing hardcore followers as well as public at large.
It is responsibility of political leaders to educate masses and do not mislead and exploit public sentiments for their temporal gains.
It is observed that political leaders label each other with allegations of corruption and selling national interests.
Politicizing issues pertaining to national security and dividing nation on such sensitive issues is not prudent approach which should be discouraged.
It is good thing of social media that it is unbiased but bad of it is that it is non-regulated. Curbing social media is not a solution. Issues such as fake news are required to be dealt with utmost cautions.
Self-restraint by national political leaders is best course of action to discourage such trends.
It is significant that political parties are using social media platforms for outreach to their followers and convey their message to general public as well.
Recent use of “twitter space” by former Prime Minister Imran Khan is an important development and shows increasing use of modern technology by political leaders to connect with their followers.
More than 83 million Pakistanis have access to internet connectivity. The number is constantly growing. The country has increasing rate of internet penetration.
According to Pakistan Telecommunication Authority there are 193 million cell phone subscribers out of which 113 million are using 3G/4G spectrum.
Pakistan has 64 per cent of population below 30 years of age. These statics are quite attractive for any political party to harness support of younger people of country.
However it is responsibility of political parties to nurture these youths by educating them importance of accommodating others, listening gracefully and responding responsibly.
National political leaders should display an exemplary conduct while endeavouring to win support of younger people.
We have to keep in mind that this youth potential is required to be groomed not to be misled.
They are future of the country and hence should be taught best of ethics and morality.National leaders should display exemplary conduct for these young followers.
Adherence to own core social values of any society is always the best safeguard against any sort of aggression, whether it is traditional or it is non-traditional.
Whereas geographical boundaries are being protected by defence forces of the country, this is responsibility of society to curb trends which are threatening our integrity and social values.
Leaders from civil society such as notable educationists and professionals of imminent repute can come forward to confront this onslaught of messy trends.
—The writer is retired Air Cdre, based in Islamabad.