President says will use laws to end race hate on social media

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The following statement was issued by President Irfaan Ali:

“As your President, it is my bounden duty and I am unequivocally committed to govern our country for all of its people, regardless of political affiliation or ethnic origin and I shall do that without reservation.

“It deeply grieves me, therefore, when I see almost every day on social media, the degree of race-baiting, racial hate and racial hostility which pervades the social media platforms. I want you to know that it is my determination to do everything within my power and to use all the laws at my disposal to put an end to this behaviour, which can only result in dividing our country and our people.

“The use of social media to resort to the perveance of racial hate for political purpose is wholly unacceptable to me as your President, and as a person, and my government will not tolerate it.

“I have spoken with my Attorney General and I have directed him to ensure that the full force of our laws are employed and are applied to those who pursue this criminal behaviour.

“I remind those persons guilty of this abuse of the social media that freedom of expression guaranteed by our Constitution as a fundamental right and freedom does not relate, nor extend to hate speeches or other expressions, in whatever form, capable of exciting hostility or ill-will against any person or class of persons.

“I further remind that such conduct, publications and utterances constitute grievous criminal offences under the Racial Hostilities, Cybercrime and other similar penal legislation and the State will not hesitate to resort to these provisions in our laws in appropriate circumstances.”

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