Radio announcer in court for social media comments

A special court sitting will take place today to hear proceedings against a 24 year old radio announcer charged for breaching the Public Order Act.

The announcer is alleged to have posted comments on social media calling on people to throw stones at police vehicles during curfew hours.

A statement from Police Commissioner Brigadier General Sitiveni Qiliho confirms the announcer will face the Magistrates Court in Suva this morning.

She will answer to one count of Malicious Act contrary to Section 15[c] of the Public Order Act 1969.

This is the third case where young people have used social media to either abuse authorities or call for action against them.

Yesterday a 17 year old Raiwaqa resident was faced court with similar charges for swearing at Police and Soldiers on the social media platform, Facebook.

Last week an unemployed 24 year old man was fined by the Magistrates Court in Suva and told to find something better to do with his time for similar use of social media.

Mereseini Vuniwaqa, the minister responsible for a helpline that is manned by counsellors at Medical Services Pacific reminded the public in a press statement yesterday that young people may be affected non-medically.

By dialling 1325, children, young adults and parents alike can talk to someone about what their feeling or get advise on how to support someone else.

Psychotherapist Selina Kuruleca who has done a lot of work with helping young people deal with the emotional and mental impacts of new experiences said young people may be displaying behaviour which “normal reactions to an abnormal time.”

But she advised parents, guardians and those who see abnormal behaviour to “recognise acting out, stress, disrespect and anger. Name it, own and move on.”

“Parents need to be more vigilant then ever.Control, manage abd monitor time spent on the screen by your kids.”

Kuruleca’s advise for those with younger children is to try to maintain a routine with kids during the work week. On the weekend she recommends activities which teach the young life skills.

“For you our kids – would you swear at a member of the disciplined force/ authority in real life? Probably not. So what makes you think you can do it in virtual reality? Dont do it.”

“Respect. They are leaving their families behind, some one has to, so you can be kept safe. Mouthing off, isnt going to help.”

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