Nigeria: New Media Regulations Spark Concerns Around Freedom Of Expression
Nigeria’s new media code that was established in July and approved by Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari increases fines for media indecency, inciting of violence or hate speech to 5 million nairas (nearly $14,000) from the initial 500,000 nairas ($1,400).
Nigeria has announced that it will tighten the regulations on social media in an effort to fight the “cancer” of fake news and false information. Still, the proposal has sparked an outcry over a potential stifling of freedom of expression.
The Information Minister of Nigeria, Lai Mohammed said that the efforts to strengthen the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) is a way to decrease hate speech and fake news that is a clear danger to the country.
The NBC recently published the critical points of the new code, including details on security and police forces that are helping the NBC enforce the shut-down of media stations when a licence has been revoked.
Lai Mohammed said that Nigeria was observing how other countries had handled social media regulations, including Singapore.
Singapore’s government recently introduced a strict new law to fight fake news, allowing officials to shut down social media sites found to be spreading false news that sows divisions in society.
Critics have said that the Singapore law mutes online discussions and Nigeria’s media companies analysts worry that their government’s new code will have the same effect.
Amnesty International, which has stood up against attacks on press freedom in Nigeria, said it would monitor how this new media code would be applied.
Credit: This article originated from www.ewn.co.za