Public hearing for Social Media Bill

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The public hearing on the social media bill will allow Nigerians the opportunity to contribute to the bill before approval or been kicked out.

The bill which has been controversial since its introduction, while Promoters and those opposed to the bill are expected to clash at the event.

Those opposed to the bill, especially Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), have vowed to shoot down the Bill.

Some senators are also said to have mobilised to abort the bill.

Titled: “A Bill for an Act to make provisions for the protection from internet falsehood and manipulations and for related matters, 2019,” the bill was sponsored by Senator Mohammed Sani Musa, representing Niger East.

Following its introduction in 2019, the Bill has continued to face a firestorm of criticisms from the media and civil society groups in the country.

However, Senator Sani continues to deny such ulterior intentions.

In his lead debate during the second reading, Musa, noted that the bill became imperative to curb the excesses of those using the social media to cause disaffection and assassination of character through “fake news.”

He went forward: “The hoax about the death of President Muhammadu Buhari in London and his replacement with Jibril from Sudan was a great threat to the peace and security of this country.”

He added that the Bill seeks a framework and system of regulation and control of the use of the internet and various social platforms in the transmission of information in Nigeria.

The senator said: “The bill is not an attempt to stifle free speech or dissenting views.

“It is rather an opportunity to address a growing threat which, if left unchecked, can cause serious damage in our polity and disrupt peaceful coexistence.”

He noted that much as the internet has numerous benefits, it is also used for the purpose of manipulating information and spreading falsehoods.

The senator further noted that some state and non-state actors engaged in geo-political interests and identity politics, use internet falsehood to discredit governments, misinform people and turn one group against another.

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