SAHRC launches social media charter in Eastern Cape

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The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has launched a social media charter in the Eastern Cape.

The commission says it has noted with concern the high level of disharmony that continues to divide the country through social media posts.

The Social Media Charter will serve as a guide to all social media users.

“A majority of people are on social media and it has become crucial that we establish ways to protect people there. A lot of people don’t realise that even if you try and hide your identity, you can never really be able to remain an anonymous on social media. We are able to find ways to prosecute if the need arises,” explain SAHRC deputy chair Fatia Chohan.

“Social media can be very disruptive, but we also can’t deny the positive impact it can also have on social situations. The recent example being the fees must fall protest. It was a very powerful tool and made a lot of impact. So, humanities if we use social media for that purpose then we could build a good generation,” says Prof Pamela Maseko, Executive Dean Humanities Faculty at Nelson Mandela University.

Young people using social media are fully aware of its impact, good and bad.

“Social media really helps in exposure, people who might have never left their province or even the country, get exposed to the world, opening their minds. Which is the very same reason I’m in Eastern Cape, after having never left my own province. We learn so much from social media every day,” says one of the students.

“Social media can be a danger. People get exposed to things that they could have never been. You find a lot of bullies, and people who just live to make others miserable. Some access videos that they shouldn’t,” explain another student.

The launch of this charter is part of a range of activities planned for this year as part of the National Social Harmony effort. The aim is to develop social harmony through self-reflection and positive dialogue.