Botswana Police Service (BPS) has criticized social media users who post sensitive pictures of accident scenes, saying their conduct was not only unethical but inconsiderate to relatives of victims.
BPS spokesperson, Dipheko Motube, told The Botswana Gazette that while doing this is not an offence under the law, posting accident scenes on social media is morally wrong especially since social media is considered part of conventional media.
“We expect people to know that even when they are exercising those media freedom rights, and posting the pictures of dead bodies lying around in a crime scene, or even crushed vehicles; they should also know they have the responsibility to ensure that they uphold media ethics,” he said.
“Even as the police we don’t reveal such sensitive information before the next of kin has been notified, and the same should apply to the public. No one deserves to learn that his or her family member has perished in an accident through social media, it is not how we are supposed to do things in this country,” Motube added.
He however dismissed allegations they were going after individuals who posted accident scenes on Facebook over the holidays, saying they had only criticized them for their conduct. Motube warned members of the public that while there was no law specific to social media offences, the Cyber Crimes and Computer Related Crimes Act was currently being used to curb some of the abuses
“Social media is still new in our country and obviously, there will be some challenges as we try to work around issues involved in cyber-crime, but we will get there. We have made significant progress in these matters; we have in the past managed to identify such crimes and even brought those people before the courts to answer for their crimes,” he said.
Motube appealed to the public to stand against social media abuses and speak out against individuals leading them.