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Ethiopian leader at UN Assembly decries use of social media to spread messages of hate and bigotry

As much as social media offers a digital platform to improve exchange of information and enhance popular participation, its attendant negative impacts simply cannot be ignored, Hailemariam Dessalegn, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, told the United Nations General Assembly today.

Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn of Ethiopia addresses the general debate of the General Assembly’s seventy-first session. UN Photo/Cia Pak
Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn of Ethiopia addresses the general debate of the General Assembly’s seventy-first session. UN Photo/Cia Pak

“In fact, we are seeing how misinformation could easily go viral via social media and mislead many people, especially the youth,” he said in his address to the annual general debate, adding: “Social media has certainly empowered populists and other extremists to exploit people’s genuine concerns and spread their message of hate and bigotry without any inhibition.”

On other global challenges, he said international peace and stability is facing greater risks with the rise of geo-political tensions and the growing threats posed by “all shades” of terrorist groups. Moreover, the global economy has not yet rebounded from the financial crisis.

Further, “it is critical to underline one critical matter which is usually given short shrift, both by the media and others. It is simply hypocritical to deny that some of our countries have been targets for destabilization activities carried out with no accountability by people and groups who have been given shelters by states with whom we have absolutely no problems,” he stressed.

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It is under these challenging circumstances that countries are striving to implement the new UN transformational agenda, including the Sustainable Development Goals, and, obviously, he said, there are no easy solutions to these complex issues. “The situation is much more pronounced specially for least developed countries like us which are making every possible effort to […] escape from the poverty trap.”

“We believe our vision is right and we are determined to get there. Whatever challenges and shortcomings we may have, we don’t have difficulty owning up to them and we will make every- possible effort to deal with them in close consultation, cooperation and participation of our people,” Prime Minister Dessalegn said, noting that there is no better testimony for the resolve Ethiopia had shown in this regard than the way it had handled this past year’s devastating El-Nino.

At the same time, he said Ethiopia could not simply “wish away” the challenges it is facing. Indeed, they need collective and coordinated responses “and we are always ready willing to continue to contribute positively in close partnership with others in our region and beyond in tackling these challenges.”

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  1. The prime minister is right. The social medias are misleading so many young people to go violent and emotional. Indeed, many adults are also mislead. Many social media are posting very irrelevant, false news and articles. The people working with fall short of integrity and honesty. But many people are now losing credibility of these medias.

  2. Hailemariam Desalegn joined a military junta group in high school,killing innocent people is what he is good at since he perfected it throughout most of his life.

    His childhood friends described Hailemariam as timid and short-tempered –

    See more at: http://afkinsider.com/70394/10-things-didnt-know-hailemariam-desalegn/2/#sthash.SLFT4CAT.dpuf

    10 Things You Didn’t Know About Hailemariam Desalegn –

    See more at: http://afkinsider.com/70394/10-things-didnt-know-hailemariam-desalegn/#sthash.Vv8kghPD.dpuf

  3. The Tplf government has already siffled private electronic and press media to reflect the majority idea.The parliament is wholly occupied by one party.The only outlet to speak popular opposition ideas is the social media to which Hailemariam is against.
    The fortunate little went to avoid tyranny.
    Is hailemariam telling us to keep silent and bear the burden of dictatorship in the 21st century.We are saphocated by the dictatorial regime of woyane and the social media is the way out to tell our misery,killings,unfair treatment of people and all the injustices we are in.If it amounts as misleading and disinforming about reality,let the people reject and refute it.Dictators usually abhor free flow of ideas and informations.

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