- Senate has reintroduced a bill to regulate social media in Nigeria
- The bill, if passed into law, would criminalise any individual or organisation that disseminates fake information on the social media
- Senator Mohammad Musa, who sponsored the bill, said the country needs to see how the new media is being operated
The efforts by the federal government to clamp down on people who make hate speeches and spread fake news in Nigeria, especially on social media, on Tuesday, November 5, got a boost as the Senate reintroduced bill to regulate the use of the platform in the country.
Premium Times reports that the bill, protection from internet falsehood and manipulations bill, 2019, sponsored by Mohammed Sani Musa, was one of the 11 bills read for the first time at the red chamber.
Legit.ng gathered that a similar anti-social media bill introduced by the eighth senate, sparked outrage across the country and was later withdrawn.
According to the online medium, the old bill titled: A Bill For An Act to Prohibit Frivolous Petitions and Other Matters Connected Therewith, was sponsored by Bala Ibn Na’Allah and sought to compel critics to accompany their petitions with sworn court affidavit, or face six months imprisonment upon conviction.
Speaking on the new bill, Musa, said the bill is for “patriotic Nigerians” who want to see the country live in peace.
He said with the advent of social media, there is reason for a country to see how the new media is operated.
“I as an individual may decide to remain in my room or office and then draft something I know very well is false because I want to hit at someone. I will decide to draft and throw on social media. Waiting few seconds, it’s on there. Before you know it, it has been shared all over. I have a passion for IT and I know what it takes to disseminate your information, it is like the speed of light,” he said.
He noted that the bill is not an attempt to gag the social media or to block right to free press, adding that it is a legislation that would guide how people manage their activities on the social media.
"False information has been disseminated so many times and they have caused so many chaos in different parts of the world.
“I felt we need it in this country if countries like Philippines, Singapore, Italy, Malaysia, Australia, France, Indonesia, Egypt are putting control to prevent the spread of false information, what stops us from doing it? There has never been a time when Nigeria has been very fragile in terms of its unity than this period."
The senator noted that anyone who is being caught over fake news, would cough out between N150,000 to a maximum imprisonment of three years or both.
He also added that any corporate organisation that refused to block that false information despite the fact that they have been alerted by authorities not to disseminate it for public interest would be penalised between N5 million to N10 million.
Meanwhile, Legit.ng had previously reported that the federal government on Monday, October 21, said it was committed to the campaign against hate speeches and fake news in Nigeria.
It was reported that while speaking on the proliferation of fake news and hate speeches in Nigeria, the minister of information, culture and tourism, Lai Mohammed, said no one would be exempted in exercising the provision of the law on the matter.
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