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Date: February 17, 2020, 08:55:26 AM

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Forum calls for withdrawal of Hate Speech, Fake News bills: Politics : Nigerialog.com - Nigeria's Premier Online Forum

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Forum calls for withdrawal of Hate Speech, Fake News bills

By: dayan (M) |Time : February 10, 2020, 04:26:13 AM
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…Says new bills amount to duplication of existing laws

By Emmanuel Elebeke

Participants at the just concluded Townhall Forum organised by Africa Independent Television, AIT. LIVE have called for immediate withdrawal of the Hate Speech and Fake News bills currently pending before the National Assembly.

In a communiqué issued at the end of   the forum held in Abuja, the stakeholders were unanimous in calling for the immediate withdrawal of the bills, describing them as a waste of time and duplication of existing laws.

The forum, entitled “Media Regulation, Society and Governance,” argued that rather than dissipate energy and tax payers resources on the bills, the two senators that sponsored the bills should immediately initiate the process of withdrawing them in the interest of Nigerians and focus more on human capital and economic development, job creation and security.

The panellists and participants who were drawn from the media, government, National Assembly, civil society organizations, academia and other stakeholders had considered the two bills pending before the National Assembly intended to regulate the social media with a provision for the setting up of a commission in order to curb hate speech and fake news in Nigeria.

The bills are “A bill for the Protection from Internet Falsehood and Manipulation and Related Matters”, sponsored by Senator Mohammed Sani Musa, representing Niger East in the Senate and ‘A Bill for the Establishment of the National Commission for Prohibition of Hate Speech and Related Matters  and the Proposed Amendment to the National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, Act.” sponsored by Senator Aliyu Sabi, also from Niger State

The Forum posited that since the social media and technology have redefined the way information was gathered all over the world and Nigeria, it would be foolhardy for law makers to dissipate energy on such a fruitless venture.

It advised the National Assembly to, as a matter of urgency, beam the searchlight on the high technology social media companies and related companies operating in Nigeria and make laws to regulate their activities.

The Forum further resolved that the media should not be criminalised, stressing that the right of the citizens to freedom of expression, guaranteed in the constitution, should not be taken away as democracy was all about inclusion and freedom of expression.

Also, the forum resolved that there were sufficient laws to deal with hate speech and fake news in Nigeria, insisting that the new bills were mere duplications of existing laws in the Nigerian Criminal Codes, particularly sections: 42; 59; 86; 88; 204; 375; 210 and 399, among others.

According to the forum, government’s concern should be primarily to entrench a healthy media environment, which will avail the public freedom of expression, guided by decorum and decency.

Resolving that the media does not condone hate speech and fake news in Nigeria, the forum said any attempt by government to regulate the social media would amount to trying to treat the symptom instead of the disease.

For the forum, the definition of hate speech and fake news could not be left to mere conjecture, whims and caprices of political elites, adding that the two bills, which were draconian, could be used as tools of oppression and repression, if passed into law.

It, however, dismissed the notion that hate speech could lead to violence, but agreed that hate action or dangerous speech and fake news prompt violence.

Meanwhile, the forum after a closer look at the constitutional provision on the subject matter, agreed that the Minister of Information and the President should be stripped of the powers to grant Radio and TV licenses.

The participants were also unanimous that the powers of NBC to collect radio and Television licence fees as provided in section 15 of the NBC Act conflicts with Section 1(1) of the (4th) schedule to the constitution that gives local governments the mandate to collect radio licences.

While rejecting the upward review of fines from N500,000 to N5 million for breaches relating to hate speech, inciting comments and incidence, the forum called for a reduction of television and radio licence fees to reflect present realities.

It also made case for creation of enabling environment for media houses to stay in business, and  sustain payment of salaries regularly to their employees.

While accepting the recommendation for the recruitment for more monitoring staff for the NBC, the forum also called for enhanced welfare packages for NBC staff to boost their commitment and dedication to duty.

The forum further resolved that only qualified professionals and relevant stakeholders should be appointed to manage the affairs of the NBC.

It advised the Attorney General of the Federation to work with supervising ministries to coordinate a review of these regulatory institutions by developing new bills that would address the inadequacies already identified.

The forum called on the NBC to invest in technology and infrastructure, with a view to   increasing efficiency in the broadcast industry.

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Re: Forum calls for withdrawal of Hate Speech, Fake News bills

By: dayan (M) |Time : February 10, 2020, 04:49:16 AM
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For the forum, the definition of hate speech and fake news could not be left to mere conjecture, whims and caprices of political elites, adding that the two bills, which were draconian, could be used as tools of oppression and repression, if passed into law.

The bill was always an idiotic bill dreamed up by illiterates and semi-literate establishment goons frightened by the nascent power of the social media to check their excesses in Nigeria.

Those goons just want to gag their victims so that the whole world won't be clued into their evil machinations in Nigeria.

But, it was obvious to anyone with half a brain that the bill will be irrelevant because NOBODY WILL OBEY IT REGARDLESS OF THE CONSEQUENCES.

All it takes for evil to thrive is for good men to do nothing. And keeping silent after witnessing evil is equivalent to acquiescence and support. Igbo people say "O gbara nkiti, kwere ekwe" -a silent person is a tacit supporter.

I mean, take for example the animalistic rape and murder of a 53 year old woman by a 20 year old Fulani herdsman in Ebonyi state some weeks ago. What type of a gag of "hate speech" would stop people with the spirit of God from lambasting such evil to the hearing of the world?

Which is more potentially inciting: The rape and murder of that poor village woman, or the act of describing the crime in stark and vivid language?

The more these goons push that bill, the more determined people would be to break the country altogether because no one can be cowed in this century when nearly nothing is working in Nigeria.

Each time those goons talk about that idiotic bill, they cite Singapore.

Has any of them ever been to Singapore to notice that the country is perhaps centuries ahead of Nigeria in terms of development?
 Do they also know that Singapore is more than 70% Chinese (Han)?
In other words, it is almost a uni-ethnic country.

But these illiterates lift the idea (almost verbatim) to Nigeria, and expect the three amalgamated nations to be gagged by one "hate speech" law. They forget that as of September 1960, Nigeria was still essentially THREE countries!

One of them I listened to once called for abolition of ethnicity in Nigeria using such law.

Nations created by the Most High God himself would then be erased by some invading ethnic group from the Futa Jalon.

They should go ahead and enact that law, and watch as Nigeria's disintegration enters gear 5.

Arrant nonsense.

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