Use of Social Media today is one of the most important elements in everyday business of almost every institution. Social Media is a great tool in hands of every spokesperson to deliver much needed informations to the public. But line between proper and improper and in between personal and official use of these great tools is very thin.
Everyday public relations officials needs to ask themselves do they use them properly and where is that thin line. One of the best examples how not to use it comes from Serbia. Special Force, or as it is called in Serbia Anti-terrorist Unit, spokesperson Radomir Počuča used his personal Facebook account to show us how not to use this great tool even when you are not at your work place.
Over a several weeks Mr. Počuča, who is now placed on leave and will face disciplinary sanctions, posted there numerous offensive comments. In some of them he called upon right-wing and Neo-Nazi activists to attack representatives of civil society, he also described US President Barack Obama as a “monkey”.
“I think this should not be held. Gentlemen hooligans, Delije, Gravediggers, Radovci, firması, instead of wasting fists between yourselves and you’re the great patriots join together and accordingly give by pussy to whom should it be…”, wrote Mr. Počuča.
This call was issued to hooligans, soccer clubs violent fans, to go after representatives of Women in the Black Society who gathered in Belgrade to commemorate 15th anniversary of Serbian war crimes in Kosovo.
“Monkey, first realized that the spinning is no longer just your exclusive rights, and serving lies has no longer that power – you are read by the people of the free world. And I see how you ‘’free” them, you have made narco-Islamic state in the heart of Europe, which – will give dear God – will not last long if you ask me, and the Russians and everybody else on this planet. Bitch puppet, a spokesperson for the corporations, lover of dollars, antichrist apprentices ….”, wrote Mr. Počuča as reply on the article published in local papers: ”Obama: There is no justification for the Crimea, the Serbs killed thousands of people in Kosovo”
Mr. Počuča represented at that time a national anti-terrorist forces which main duty is to fight against the most severe crimes and to protect people from any potential terrorist attack. But in the same time Mr. Počuča called on the worst kind of criminals in Serbia to commit the most severe crimes enlisted in Serbia’s criminal law code.
His actions are showing us that use of social media on personal time must to be treated in the same way how they are treated when you are at you work place. Being off your work place doesn’t give you a right to call upon someone to commit crime or to call the President of another country a monkey.
Ethic and professional standards should be applied accordingly. Should be used as the guideline in effort to help your institution to reach highest possible contact with public and to deliver informations in the right way at the right time. Social Media is a tool not a place where you can be “Me” and “Me” and disobey rules and above everything laws of the country. In this case every governmental institutions should invest more in education of public relations officials and public servants in effort to achieve the best results but also to prevent future similar situations.
Good news is that the Ministry of Interior already took steps to put Mr. Počuča on leave and to open disciplinary procedures against him. They also announced that there is a big chance that his contact which expires in April will not be renewed.