- The Amnesty International (AI) is rejecting outrightly the social media and hate speech bills currently before the Senate
- AI argues that the bills do not meet the international human rights standards
- The international organisation warns that if passed the bills would give absolute powers to the government to jail its critics
The hate speech and social media bills before the Senate is a prospective danger to Nigerians, the Amnesty International (AI) has declared, expressing its rejection for the pieces of legislation.
AI noted that if eventually passed, the bills would trample on the rights of Nigerians to free speech or freedom of expression.
ThisDay reports that the organisation added that many provisions of the bills do not meet international human rights standards.
This adds to the mass rejection that has greeted the bills since they were introduced for legislation by the upper chamber of the National Assembly, with one proposing death penalty.
A statement by AI’s programmes manager in Nigeria, Seun Bakare, quoted the international organisation as saying the bills are an “alarming escalation in the federal government’s attempts to censor and punish social media users for freely expressing their opinions.”
According to AI, the social media have become one of the last remaining places where citizens of the country can freely express their opinions as harassment of journalists and bloggers and the cyber-crimes act have caused fears among the people.
AI warned that the bills would give the government powers to limit access to social media and ensure up to three years in prison for anyone who criticises it.
“We are urging the Nigerian authorities to drop these bills, which are open to vague and broad interpretations and impose incredibly harsh punishments simply for criticising the authorities,” the organisation said.
Legit.ng earlier reported that the UN's deputy secretary-general, Hajiya Amina Mohammed, on Tuesday, November 26, said that while the move against hate speech is commendable, the death penalty aspect of the proposed bill should be scrapped.
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To be or not? Nigerians speak on social media bill | Legit TV