Individuals have a right to share information and analysis that could be subjective, objective or false. Such information and analysis could also be politically motivated. But such information and analysis cannot necessarily pose a challenge to the extent of threatening national security.

‘Fake news’ may be unpleasant but it’s not the case that it poses a national security challenge. Well before social media emerged in the world so-called fake news have always existed. In most cases such fake news in fact emanates from the Government!

It is Government that is notorious for spreading wrong information to citizens. One can find this practice in every country of the world, be it a democracy or a dictatorship where Government distorts, misinforms, misleads or disinform citizens with false information!

Hence it is indeed misleading and scary for the Director General of NIA to claim that social media is a challenge. The Director General did not present any evidence except to harp on the fact that individuals share information and analysis that he claimed could be wrong. So what?

Just because individuals share information and analysis that someone considers wrong is no justification that such information and analysis is therefore a challenge to national security! Let the NIA produce hard evidence to back their claim than to release general comments which in themselves could constitute fake news!

It is part of democracy that individuals express their opinion. Such opinions could be measured or outlandish but they cannot be said to pose a challenge to national security, unless it is hate speech. Those who commit hate speech should be subjected to the law.

Gambians must stand up to protect our hard-earned democracy and be prepared to stop the Government from using scare tactics to roll back our freedoms. Not long ago the Vice President made similar remarks about social media.

It is these claims that were made by other governments in other parts of Africa and the world leading to their closure or limiting of internet and social media. We cannot allow such draconian actions in The Gambia.

Our social media is fine. Our citizens are exercising their fundamental rights as they should. Let the Government protect our rights which includes applying the law against those who violate the law. But we cannot allow our rights to be taken away with such fake news from the Government itself. Never again!

For The Gambia Our Homeland