By Adama Tine
In a statement released on Tuesday morning, Peace Hub-The Gambia, an NGO, expressed concern with the rising trends of hate speech in the media and across public platforms, considering it as “a major threat” to the country’s national peace and security as the presidential election gets near.
“We call on all Gambians, home and abroad, to consider it as a revered responsibility to shun and discourage our constituents from casting bigotry statements against others and peddling hate speech in our communities including social media,” the statement said.
“Recently, we have observed with dismay proliferation of hate and incendiary speeches -potential violent conflict drivers – making across different social media platforms. We condemn this in the strongest possible terms,” added the statement.
The release described 2021 as a critical political year for the Gambia for obvious reasons – the first presidential election after 22 years of dictatorial regime.
According to the organisation, every genuine Gambian should be concerned by intolerance behavior of and use of vulgar language by certain people against fellow Gambians for reasons they know best. It therefore called on everyone to consider it as a revered responsibility to shun and discourage our constituents from casting bigotry statements against others and peddling hate speech in our communities including on social media.
“Like our forbearers, we should continue to treasure our “Gambianness” above any classification, celebrate our diversity and appreciate dissent, safeguard our peace and tranquility, and promote unity and development”, it further said.
It applauded government agencies, political parties and their leaders, civil society organizations, activists and young people who came out to condemn potential violent conflict drivers.
However, the release added that as a country, we should consider punishing culprits of such behavior as justice is a critical pillar in building peaceful communities.
Peace Hub-The Gambia is a peace building and social cohesion organization, established to create a conducive environment for young people in peace building, promote social cohesion and reconciliation, as well as strengthen the Gambia’s Transitional Justice process.