Social media has become an integral part of modern society and has had a profound impact on how people communicate, interact and consume information. However, it has been criticised for its negative effects on society including the potential of facilitating violent extremism and terrorism.
It is for this reason that media practitioners in East and the horn of Africa countries have been urged to leverage social media in countering violent extremism and gender biases. "It is widely acknowledged that in recent years, the use of the Internet by extremists as a means of spreading propaganda, raising funds, recruiting members and communicating with activists has grown dramatically," Djibouti director of multilaterales relations Ambassador Guelleh says.
He adds that extremist groups also use the Internet as a virtual boot camp and that there are many examples of how supporters of violent extremism, like al-Shabaab, develop media and communication strategist to promote violent extremism. These organisations are particularly adept in their use of social media. He made the call at Sheraton Djibouti Hotel in Djibouti city during a three-day regional training of media practitioners on the adoption of gender-sensitive reporting to counter violent extremism, which started on Monday, February 28, 2023.