news

Sept. 12, 2021

KABELO MASOABI

2 min read

Cops ordered out of social media groups

Cops ordered out of social media groups

Police Commissioner Holomo Molibeli

Story highlights

  • Compol wants participation only through his permission
  • Public thinks police rights are being violated

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IN an apparent move to prevent the leaking of official information and documents, Police Commissioner Holomo Molibeli has barred all police officers from using social media groups.

A memo issued by the Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS) on September 10, says no officer can participate in any media platform except with the permission of the commissioner.
Molibeli has ordered police officers to close all their WhatsApp groups, adding that they should also stay out of social media platforms that attack other people. 

According to the memo, the officers will have to request the Commissioner’s permission to either form or join social media groups.
Responding to this, renowned human rights lawyer, Advocate Letuka Molati remarked on Facebook that a police officer should behave in a manner that the public will look up to them.

“Police officers should not be involved in acts of character assassination. In the groups, police can share news and opinions that adhere to the ethics of the LMPS. Anything to the contrary, such a person should be dealt with through disciplinary processes,” he said.
Adv Molati said to create a WhatsApp group does not need permission of the police boss, however such a group should not  be used for purposes that are contrary to the mission statement of the police service.

Speaking to Metro on condition of anonymity, several police officers have shown discontent at the new order, saying its enforcement violates their freedom of speech, further describing it as a mockery and an insult in a democratic state.
The matter has also raised argumentative debates among members of the public.
“They (police officers) must have been given a chance to air their opinions on this matter first because it threatens their freedom of association and expression,” said Celina Mokhamali of Ha Thetsane in Maseru.
 

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Fako Lefosa from Teyateyaneng said: “Some officers use these platforms to criticise the police service and its policies. They are involved in political debates which degrade the basic foundation on which civil service lays. Every word uttered by a civil servant represents government’s position, hence it has several negative impressions on citizens, which may cause communal violence or other social harm.
“Civil servants should use social media constructively, to educate masses, spread awareness, to empower the vulnerable sections and thus perform their duty with responsibility and in a non-partisanship manner. They should not be viewed as acting against the state machinery because it may promote a lack of faith in public institutions and can lead to anarchy,” he said.

 

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