- The federal government has increased the fine for hate speech
- Offenders of the rule will now be compelled to pay N5 million instead of the initial N500,000
- The new rule was reportedly necessitated by a presidential directive, in the wake of the 2019 general elections
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The federal government has raised the fine for hate speech from N500,000 to N5 million.
The minister of information and culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, made this known when he unveiled the reviewed Nigeria Broadcasting Code.
Mohammed clarified that the amendments were necessitated by a presidential directive, in the wake of the 2019 general elections.
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He said this despite the attacks by some with vested interests, who believe that their singular business interest is superior to national interest.
The minister, however, failed to address the consistent hate speech by agents of government and their associates.
As much as the hate speech law is in place, known associates of the government of the day have been guilty of inflammatory statements.
While the government looks away at these cases, it swoops down on opposition elements when they run foul of the law.
Explaining the reviewed document further, Mohammed said the reviewed code contains the antitrust provision aimed at boosting local content and encouraging the growth of the local industry, among other provisions.
Reacting to the news, SERAPNigeria, a nonprofit, nonpartisan, legal and advocacy organisation said in a statement: “This fine would further curtail freedom of expression and open the door for law enforcement officials to target critics.
“The fine fails to meet the standards of legality, necessity and proportionality in article 19(3) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
“The Buhari government should be removing restrictions on freedom of expression, not imposing heavy fines that risk stifling critical public debate on important issues.
“The leadership of the National Assembly should publicly condemn this restriction on constitutional rights.”
Meanwhile, photos and videos on social media indicate that Nigerian security agents used maximum force on peaceful protesters in the commercial city of Lagos and the country's capital, Abuja on Wednesday, August 5.
The protesters are members of Revolution Now, a group of young Nigerians calling for a change in the way Nigeria is being governed.
Nigerians storm National Assembly to protest social media bill | Legit TV