How NCC openly rejected #SocialMediaBill

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), PLAC, Civil Society groups and institutions have openly rejected the Protection from Internet Falsehoods and Manipulations bill popularly known as Social Media/Hate speech bill. Speaking at the public hearing on the Protection from Internet Falsehoods, Manipulations and Other Related Matters Bill, 2019 (SB 132) at the National Assembly Complex Conference Hall on Monday, NCC’s Executive Vice Chairman Professor Umar Garba Danbatta rejected the bill stating that the commission is not responsible for Social Media regulation but is rather responsible for the provision of information. Danbatta added that the bill gives too much power to the Nigerian Police Force which may turn out to be a disaster. How NCC openly rejected.

He explained that some provisions of the bill are already covered in the Nigerian constitution. Speaking also at the hearing, President of NUJ, Comrade Chris Isiguzo, reaffirmed the union’s position on the rejection of the bill, explaining that it seeks to “pigeon-hole” Nigerian’s freedom of speech and that it is an act of proliferation. Also the Executive Director of PLAC, Clement Nwankwo while speaking said the bill is a plot to infringe on human right. How NCC openly rejected.

He advised the Senate committee on Judiciary, human rights and legal matters to discountenance the bill. Again, the Acting Chairman of Law Reforms Commission, Professor Jumai Audi said the bill does not provide who it seeks to protect and explained that the paragraphs of clause one in the bill is vulg and therefore does not any message.

In the same pattern, other institutions and civil societies expressed their disagreement with the bill and urged for an immediate dismissal of the bill. Protection from Internet Falsehoods, Manipulations and Other Related Matters Bill, 2019 (SB 132) seeks to prevent transmission of false statement and declaration of facts in Nigeria and to enable measures to be taken to counter the effects of such transmission as well as to suppress the financing, promotion and other support of online locations that repeatedly transmits false statements and declaration of facts.

The bill also seeks to enable measures to be taken to detect, control and safeguard against uncoordinated inauthentic behavior and other misuses of online accounts and bots. However, there are some clauses in the bill that suggests infringements on human rights, they include; laws to inhibit fair hearing as provided by the Nigerian constitution, providing Nigeria Police with enormous powers to clamp down on the rights of the citizens, the demand for “comply first and explain later” which is an infringement of the presumption of innocence of an accused person.

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