Amnesty International warns against social media gag, consequences

November 9, 2020
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Global human rights group, Amnesty International, has kicked against the proposed social media regulation by the federal government of Nigeria, warning that it could be used as a tool to punish critics of the government if allowed.

It would be recalled that some Ministers have been calling for legislation that will control and regulate the social media since the beginning of the #EndSARS protests.

.“Social media regulation could easily empower those in power to punish critics of government’s policies and actions, and anyone who asks difficult questions could find themselves liable to incredibly harsh punishment,” AI tweeted.

The group said social media users will be punished for freely expressing their opinions, noting that the government with the regulation could arbitrarily shut down the internet and limit access to social media.

It also stated that with the regulation, if allowed, will give the government the power to punish with penalties, including years in prison

The Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, had last week said the Federal Government has no plans of shutting down social media but must regulate it to prevent the spread of hate speech.

“However, we must regulate social media in a manner that it does not become a purveyor of fake news and hate speech.We will not fold our arms to allow purveyors of fake news and hate speech to use the social media to destabilize the country,” he said.

The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, stated that social media regulation will have to go through due process in the National Assembly.

The President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Olumide Akpata, said the Federal Government’s plan to introduce regulation of social media after the #EndSARS protests are suspicious, as the social media space is already regulated.

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