Botswana’s army has banned soldiers from using Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites for security reasons.
Botswana Defence Force (BDF) employees were recently told 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, Mr 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 Mr Dikole.
The development prevents military employees from commenting on military-related issues with some comments viewed as bringing the organisation into disrepute and laying military operations on the line.
The ban further forbids them 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 impedes their freedom of expression.
An army officer, who refused to be named, fearing reprisal, said the ban was a bit unfair on them.
“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.”
Another BDF employee said the social networks keep him abreast with what is happening around the world.
“We use Facebook for various reasons; I follow football news and world news through Facebook so it is a bit disappointing.”