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Date: January 18, 2021, 08:28:21 AM

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Don’t delay death of social media, hate speech bills, CSO tells Senate: Politics : Nigerialog.com - Nigeria's Premier Online Forum

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Don’t delay death of social media, hate speech bills, CSO tells Senate

By: dayan (M) |Time : January 07, 2021, 10:59:22 PM



By Luminous Jannamike, Abuja

The Centre for Liberty, on Thursday, advised the Senate to publish the report of its public hearing on the social media and hate speech bills and quickly kill the proposed laws in their entirety.

Members of the civil society organization, CSO, who gave the advice during a press conference in Abuja, said the demise of the two bills was long overdue, stressing that Nigerians had overwhelmingly rejected them during the public hearing.

While decrying the Senate’s delay in killing the social media bill, the group stated that citizens’ right to freedom of expression was key in Nigeria’s democracy.

Co-convener of the group, Mr. Raphael Adebayo, said: “If the year 2020 taught us anything, it is the fact that freedom of expression, both online and offline, is critical to deepening our democracy in Nigeria.

“In March 2020, the Nigerian people overwhelmingly rejected the ‘Protection from Internet Falsehood and Manipulations and other Related Matters Bill,’ commonly known as the social media bill, but the Senate Committee on Human Rights, Judiciary and Legal Matters led by Senator Opeyemi Bamidele has yet to make its report on the public hearing known to the public, and neither has the Senate killed the bill in its entirety.

“The threat that comes with delaying the death of the social media bill is enormous and costly to Nigeria’s democracy. One of the most important things in our democracy is citizens’ right to freedom of expression.”

He also said the threat posed by the social media bill to this right contradicted the values of a democracy and the ideals of the 21st century.

“Our democracy dies the day we are no longer able to express ourselves freely. So, the Nigerian legislature should be focusing on enacting laws that would bolster digital freedom and the numerous innovative ideas of young people on social media, and not be seen to be seemingly waiting for an opportunity to sinisterly pass bills that threaten digital freedom and freedom of expression.

“We, hereby, wish to urge the Nigerian Senate to prioritise killing the social media and hate speech bills this year, 2021.

“The Senate should embrace the chance that 2021 presents to do right by Nigerians. The Nigerian people deserve nothing but a legislature that listens to them and supports their fundamental rights.”

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Re: Don’t delay death of social media, hate speech bills, CSO tells Senate

By: dayan (M) |Time : January 07, 2021, 11:14:19 PM
Quote
“The threat that comes with delaying the death of the social media bill is enormous and costly to Nigeria’s democracy. One of the most important things in our democracy is citizens’ right to freedom of expression.”

He also said the threat posed by the social media bill to this right contradicted the values of a democracy and the ideals of the 21st century.

“Our democracy dies the day we are no longer able to express ourselves freely. So, the Nigerian legislature should be focusing on enacting laws that would bolster digital freedom and the numerous innovative ideas of young people on social media, and not be seen to be seemingly waiting for an opportunity to sinisterly pass bills that threaten digital freedom and freedom of expression.

“We, hereby, wish to urge the Nigerian Senate to prioritise killing the social media and hate speech bills this year, 2021.

Institutions of democracy take YEARS and ENORMOUS resources to develop/build.
Some of them are public institutions like government owned media, e.g. NAN. Others are PRIVATE owned media.

All of them work synergistically to avail Nigerians the opportunity to exercise their constitutionally protected right of FREE SPEECH.

Developed countries have learned to even subsidize or give public support (financial and logistic) to private media/Forums to enhance their reach and availability to citizens.
That is what separates democracy in developed countries, from "democracy" in third world/ underdeveloped countries.

In developed countries, media are promoted and supported by government. In third world, they are oppressed and suppressed.

We have argued here that it is in the interest of those in government that Nigerians are able to speak out in forums like Nairaland and Nigerialog. That way, the leaders can tap into what Nigerians are thinking and use them to effect positive change in the interest of the country.

More importantly, those platforms avail Nigerians the opportunity to vent.

Most of the time, people simply vent, rant, and feel better afterwards. Nothing more.
But when they are prevented from venting, they may take up arms or do something worse.
These are common sense facts that most intelligent leaders understand easily.

The fact that CSO are still talking about these two obnoxious bills almost one year after Nigerians rejected it totally during public hearings/debate, speaks volumes of the kinds of characters leading Nigeria today.

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