KABUL (Pajhwok): Some Wolesi Jirga candidates say social media is the best tool to campaign while others complain the platform is being used to disgrace competitors.
Mostly young candidates in the Oct 20 parliamentary polls are using Facebook, WhatsApp, twitter, instagram, telegram, imo and other social media applications to woo voters.
Not only common people, but high ranking officials such as the president, politicians, and well as known personalities use social media.
Zabihullah Zyarmal, a Wolesi Jirga candidate from Kabul province, said the use of social media for election campaign was economical and effective. He said there were no other charges except sponsorship fee.
“Through social media, we disseminate many items which get around 20,000 viewers,” he said.
Tawfiq Wahdat, who is also contesting the polls from Kabul, termed the role of social media in the electioneering as vital and effective but added he was not optimistic he would get more votes this way.
“Our people will carefully cast their vote this time; they get in contact with candidates and try to know their views from close,” he said.
Mohammad Ishaq Saberi, head of Atifa Tayyib’s election campaign, also called the role of Facebook as effective in the electioneering drive and said: “We also campaign on Facebook and other social media outlets.”
He also added some individuals used abusive language and often shared indifferent views. He explained some fake Facebook accounts had been created in the name of Atifa Tayyib which worked against Tayyib. “The viewers have been informed about the fake accounts on the real page”.
Khaleda Adeb, a Wolesi Jirga candidate from Kabul, is unhappy with the use of social media in the election campaign. “As a result of abusive, disgraceful and irresponsible comments, I conducted no campaign on social media,” she said.
She criticized her opponents what she alleged tearing down her posters and said: “My opponents tore apart my 10 posters and banners in the city.”
Election watchdogs also termed the role of technology and social media as vital in spreading a candidate’s political agenda.
Yousuf Rashid, executive chief of the Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan (FEFA), said social was a most suitable platform for election campaign as candidates could disseminate their messages and debates to their supporters through this way.
However, he said some people still did not know the proper use of social media and instead used it for tribal, ethnic, linguistic and religious purposes.
Referring to social media accounts of the Presidential Palace and the Chief Executive Officer, Rashid that candidates uploaded disgraceful comments on the presidential social media accounts, but they continued to disseminate information.
He asked candidates not to take this issue as serious and strived to distribute information.

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