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Indeed, A REAL RISK to our DEMOCRACY

June 8, 2021

“Of poetic irony is the fact that one issue over which the Buhari Administration has repeatedly waxed lyrical is that of hate speech; so much that the National Assembly, controlled by his All Progressives Peoples Congress (APC), has introduced a bill to establish the National Hate Speech Commission and another one to regulate the social media. Both bills have rightly been opposed by Nigerians who feared that they would serve as witch-hunt apparatuses against those who exercise the right of dissent. Events around the Twitter ban have confirmed the fear of the civil society, media outlets and groups, professional bodies, etc., in this regard. We condemn the ban on Twitter in Nigeria on a number of fundamental grounds.” – Premiumtimes Editorial, June 8, 2021

“In a moment of anger and lack of critical reflection unbecoming of a democratically elected government, and with complete disregard to our rights, the Buhari Administration on June 4 announced an indefinite ban on the operations of “the microblogging and social networking service, Twitter in Nigeria.”

Segun Adeyemi, Special Assistant To The President (Media) in the office of the Minister of Information and Culture, Abuja, claimed in a terse press release that the Minister, Lai Mohammed, attributed the ban to: “The persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence”.

Mr Adeyemi stated further that the “Federal Government has also directed the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to immediately commence the process of licensing all OTT and social media operations in Nigeria.”

Taking a cue from the Information and Culture Minister, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, also threatened that Nigerians who defy the Twitter ban would be prosecuted.

The argument advanced in Adeyemi’s press release notwithstanding, Nigerians are not oblivious of the real reason why the rash decision was taken – the taking down of President Muhammadu Buhari’s Twitter handle for tweeting what was interpreted as a threat of genocide or bloody suppression against a section of the Nigerian populace.

The president had tweeted: “Many of those misbehaving today are too young to be aware of the destruction and loss of lives that occurred during the Nigerian Civil War. Those of us in the fields for 30 months, who went through the war, will treat them in the language they understand.”

It is common knowledge that social media service providers like Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, among others, have well defined and widely disseminated industry standards that frown at the use of words and expressions that convey hateful messages or thoughts. Thus, with his handle temporarily suspended from the Twitter space, President Buhari has company in former President of the United States, Donald Trump, who received a similar knock when he repeatedly tweeted venomous messages against American citizens opposed to his indecorous approach to addressing governance and political issues.

Of poetic irony is the fact that one issue over which the Buhari Administration has repeatedly waxed lyrical is that of hate speech; so much that the National Assembly, controlled by his All Progressives Peoples Congress (APC), has introduced a bill to establish the National Hate Speech Commission and another one to regulate the social media. Both bills have rightly been opposed by Nigerians who feared that they would serve as witch-hunt apparatuses against those who exercise the right of dissent. Events around the Twitter ban have confirmed the fear of the civil society, media outlets and groups, professional bodies, etc., in this regard.

We condemn the ban on Twitter in Nigeria on a number of fundamental grounds.

continue at .. .. ..
https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/headlines/466341-editorial-twitter-ban-in-nigeria-a-real-risk-to-our-democracy.html

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