A conference on social media here yesterday called on governments not to jail tweeters who breach the rules of decency and morality.
Many speakers, however, criticised the practice of using fake names on Twitter, saying it will damage the credibility of the influential social media.
The first tweeters forum was organised by Al Sharq website to mark its first anniversary. The forum also saw the official launch of the Doha Initiative for Social Media supported by Al Sharq.
The Minister of Culture, Arts and Heritage, H E Dr Hamad bin Abdulaziz Al Kuwari launched the initiative.
“We call on the government not to harass tweeters and abolish imprisonment for tweeters violating rules,” Jabir Al Harami, editor-in-chief of Al Sharq, told the forum.
He said tweeters have the right to use fake user names, but it should not be used as a cover to violate rules of morality and decency or to commit crimes.
The Minister, in his speech, said Qatar’s new media law will incorporate human rights concepts. Arguments in favour of tweeters should be considered but not at the expense of rule of law.
He said the media law should have provisions to contain the negative impact of journalism.
Ammar Mohammed, noted Qatari social media enthusiast, said he had been listed among the top 20 influential Arab tweeters. “My goal is to become number one in the region.”
Faisal bin Jassim Al Thani said tweeters should disclose the source of information posted on their accounts, otherwise they will not have credibility and people won’t respond to them.
Twitter has a big role in influencing decision-makers and the identity of users should be disclosed so that it will have more impact, said another participant.
People using abusive language on Twitter are not matured and mostly express frustration.
Use of fake names and restriction in the number of characters — a maximum 140 — were described as major challenges facing tweeters. Bogus accounts and re-tweeting should be discouraged, speakers said.
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