To curb hate speech, fake news during elections, citizens must uphold morality

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As the 2020 general elections approach, we have several tasks before us to ensure the elections are free and fair.
Currently, nationwide basic voting lists have been made, and checks and counter-checks are being carried out to ensure the list for the 2020 general elections is free of errors.
Political parties and civil society organizations, on their part, must educate the people to check their names on the lists when they are made public.
The Union Election Commission (UEC) is preparing to announce the designated constituencies for the 2020 general elections, while working on publishing election rules and directives which are in conformity with the current situation.
The Code of Conduct (COC) for political parties and candidates, which was ratified in 2015, is being updated. Meanwhile, plans are underway to form negotiation and security committees at different levels, as parts of efforts to hold the elections peacefully. Directives for the media and COCs for security personnel are being drafted. These tasks reflect that the UEC is well prepared for the upcoming general elections.
However, some challenges, which can disrupt elections anywhere in the world, are fake news, hate speech, and disinformation on popular social media platforms, which are rampant in this age of misinformation.
We need to be on the alert about their potential to disrupt the democratic process. We need to prevent them, and when they occur, we need to be quick to react.
In Myanmar, the number of social media users has increased from 7 million in 2015 to 21 million in 2020. Coupled with the increase in the number of social media users, it is getting harder and harder for people to distinguish between correct news and fake news on social media platforms.
The UEC is well-prepared. It will soon launch its Facebook page to tackle fake news and release correct information. At the same time, all stakeholders in the general elections are urged to find ways or tactics that can effectively curb hate speech, misinformation, and fake news, which can delay our democratic transition.
To end hate speech, we all must observe the code of ethics, written with the consensus of all. The most important and effective way is the observation of morality and civic rules by each citizen.

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