Curbing hate will not curtail free speech: Social media influencers in UAE

Curbing hate will not curtail free speech: Social media influencers in UAE

Dubai - Social media influencers said the move will help curb the practice of hate speech.


Angel Tesorero

Published: Tue 3 Sep 2019, 10:13 PM

Social media influencers in the UAE are supporting the recent directive by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to set strict standards on social media. They said the move does not curtail freedom of speech but will help curb the practice of hate speech.
Speaking to Khaleej Times on Monday, motivational speaker and social media influencer Zainab Al Eqabi said: "Sheikh Mohammed has sent a reminder to all netizens to think carefully before sharing anything online. Having an 'anti-hate speech measure' is definitely needed to limit the spread of evil in society. Freedom of speech should not cause pain, hate, racism but promote good values," added the Iraqi expat who carries the social handle @zainab.aleqabi.
Another social media influencer, Dr Rex Bacarra (@drrexbacarra and @the_philosopher_monk), added: "I am for the anti-hate speech measure. Hate speeches contribute nothing meaningful to society. It attacks, demeans, and intimidates through derogatory texts inciting violence which go against the very ideals of the creation of society.
"I do firmly believe that a citizen should be given the freedom to stand on his or her principles and beliefs, which the UAE is providing. The citizens themselves should be responsible for what they write, aided by reason, not by emotion. Classical social contractualists like Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Thomas Hobbes, and John Locke highlighted in their narratives the ideals why we created societies and that is for the attainment of peace, harmony, and safety," added Bacarra, who is also the dean of general education department at the American College of Dubai.
For Bacarra, the bottom line is: People should not use social media to defame and to defraud.

Social media influencers agree that curbing hate speech is consistent with the values promoted by the UAE which are based on tolerance, moderation and acceptance of others.
Multi-awarded Filipino blogger Dr Angelo Santos (@iamdocgelo, @gelothebear) explained: "I am grateful for everything this country has to offer. I understand my responsibility to respect the law of the country I live in, and that includes respecting UAE's history, heritage, leaders and people. Personally, I believe freedom is good but all goodness must have limits including freedom of speech. Not to be suppressed but must be bounded with personal responsibility. It might be easier said than done. If words would do harm than good, better not express it."
Ion Gonzaga (@ohboydubai), known among netizens as Boy Dubai, added: "Any responsible person will never waste a huge effort to magnify anything to hate the UAE and I join the call not to use social media to tarnish the reputation of this country. Being responsible will further cement the values of love, respect and credibility."
Indian expat Lavina Israni (@lavinaisranicom) further noted that online influencers have a social responsibility towards the betterment of the UAE. "It is our duty to use our online influence to share positive words, opinions, and images in regards to this nation. We should also encourage our audience to rely on official news agencies such as Khaleej Times for information regarding the nation, and discourage anyone from circulating unverified articles received on WhatsApp or social media feeds."

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