Democracy and Dissenting Voices
The conversation on Morning Crossfire today goes around dangers of freedom of expression and rights of the media and Nigerians to speak. Nigeria operates a democratic form of government that is meant countries to uphold the rights of freedom of expression enshrined in the constitution.
In many Western democratic States of the world, Nigeria ranks 119 out of 180 on Reporters without Borders World Press Freedom Index. The Digital Rights and Freedom Bill sponsored by Lawmaker Chukwuemeka Ujiam passed a second reading in June 2016 and was referred to the committee on telecommunications and human right for further briefing. If the Bill reached the third reading it would be considered fully passed by the House and will then require concurrence by the Senate by the President’s assent to become law.
Sheriff Quadri points out that numerous bloggers, online journalists, even ordinary users were arrested for online activities 2016. Most of those charged were charged for cyber stalking. Though no cases led to convictions, he haven’t heard of any, online journalists and users in Nigeria were subject to increasing harassment and intimidation for their activities by local officials or powerful business people who had taken issue with the critical comments posted about them.
Alongside the threat of arrest, as an intimidation tactic, police often raided the homes of targeted bloggers and they seize their equipments. This has been the trend. However, Freedom On The Net says the press was partly free in Nigeria.
The guests in the studio take out their time explaining and emphasizing about the poor performance of democracy, sometimes referring to the disappointment about government not doing the proper thing when it comes to allowing freedom of expression in Nigeria.
Timelines are given to express how government has tried to stifle freedom of expression. These happened in several states of the federation. Some journalists were arrested, or beaten for covering events. Government says further, that it will look out for inciting comments on social media and stifle them.
Click Here to listen and be a part of the show
- Here are the important questions the guests were trying answer:
- Is there a total freedom of expression in Nigeria?
- How do you rate Nigerians’ ability to share their opinion freely in the online social media?
- How would you rate this government and freedom of expression?
- Should government regulate social media?
- What is categorized as inciting comments?
Alesta Wilcox – Chartered Accountant & Social Political Commentator
Comrade Alec Omotehinse – State Chairman, Committee for the Defense of Human Rights, Lagos State Branch
Seun Akinyemi – Programme Officer, Enough is Enough, Nigeria
Written by Jude Chukwuemeka