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New Regulations for Social Media Pages?

New Regulations for Social Media Pages?

It’s been one week since allegations of rape emerged against a popular Belizean attorney. Two women came forward, alleging that the attorney, who they met at a night spot in Belize City, later took them to a house. There, they allege that he raped both of them while they were heavily under the influence of what they believed were laced drinks. The police are still investigating and have not yet brought any charges against the attorney. That did not stop a social media page to which he is closely affiliated from coming out swinging against the two women who have accused him of the crime. Hot Off the Press, a Facebook page that poses as a news-oriented platform, started soon after the allegations surfaced, to blame the victims. One of the initial posts on the page sought to target the women, suggesting that they were requesting drinks from him, asking him where the after party was and generally behaving inappropriately at the night spot where they first crossed paths. Thereafter, Hot Off the Press proceeded to post surveillance footage downloaded from inside the nightclub that showed a crowd and from among them, the two women who were swaying to the music on the night in question. The actions of the social media page, however, have come under strong criticism from at least one attorney, and from others who view those actions as weaponizing the attorney’s stance and blaming the victims. Today, the Minister of Home Affairs, Kareem Musa, told the formal media that there is an ongoing discussion on how his ministry can address these kinds of social media pages that single out and target people.



Kareem Musa, Minister of Home Affairs

“I had a discussion just now over at National Security Council about establishing regulations for the media. There has to be some control because we know every single day a new media outlet pops up online with no sort of accountability or transparency to see who are the actors behind these websites, behind these social media pages, and we don’t know whether these are legitimate media houses, and so there has to be some action taken by the Belize Broadcasting Authority to put in place legislation and regulations to ensure that we can get rid of these types of social media pages that are using it, like you rightly pointed out, for the totally wrong purposes – undermining the police work and also trying to further the personal agenda of one individual.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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