Botswana bans soldiers from using social network

Gaborone –
Botswana has banned its soldiers from using social networks like Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites for security reasons, according local media reports.
Botswana Defence Force (BDF) employees were recently informed that they would no longer be allowed to communicate via the social networks when they are engaged in army operations.
The director of the army’s Directorate of Protocol and Public Affairs, Tebo Dikole, stressed that the move was purely a safety measure.
“Security is a dynamic phenomenon that requires constant monitoring of all influences at all levels in any context.
“As much as the BDF has to keep pace with developments, there is need to guard against revealing classified information such as military hardware and deployment areas,” said Dikole.
The development prevents military employees from commenting on military-related issues, with some comments viewed as bringing the organisation into disrepute and exposing military operations.
The ban further forbids soldiers from remarking on any political issues raised by their friends on social networks.
The ban has been received with mixed reactions with some soldiers saying it impinges on their freedom of expression.
“We were told not to make any statements or comments on social networks; but after all we are human beings and just like everybody else we need to socialise,” one soldier complained.
Another soldier was quoted saying that being part of the conversation on social networks helped to keep them abreast with developments around them.
He said they were surprised that the BDF had initiated such “an exploitative policy”. Yet another army officer, who refused to be named for fear of reprisal, said “We understand the security concerns but, for me, Facebook is one way I communicate with my family and friends. That’s how important it is.”
“We use Facebook for various reasons; I follow football news and world news through Facebook so it is a bit disappointing,” said another officer.

January 2013
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