Social Media Bill Won't Stifle Free Speech - Senator
By Ufuoma Egbamuno and Fidel Oseghale
The bill to regulate social media use is “not an attempt to stifle free speech.” This is according to the Senator representing Niger East, Musa Mohammed Sani. The Niger Senator made this disclosure while making his presentation during Wednesday’s plenary.
The bill passed Second Reading on the floor of the Senate earlier today but has generated controversy in the country.
But Senator Sani insists that the bill is important as it seeks to regulate how Nigerians use the social media, protect users from internet falsehood and manipulations
This bill is not an attempt to stifle free speech,” Senator Sani stated.
“It is rather an opportunity to tackle the growing threat which left unchecked can cause serious damage in our polity and disrupt peaceful coexistence.”
According to the Niger Senator, “while the internet has democratised information, the fact remains that it has also been a weapon in the process. That is why government across the world are trying to mitigate the risks associated with information transmission via internet networks.”
However, former governor of Enugu State and Senator representing Enugu East, Chimaroke Nnamani, disagreed with his colleague. While making his own presentation, Nnamani insists that the constitution already caters for issues raised in the Social Media Bill.
“In our constitution, Section 39 guarantees freedom of information and freedom of speech,” Nnamani said.
“I not only oppose this bill but I condemn it in its entirety. There is a cybercrime that deals with these,” he added.
In his ruling, President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan referred the bill to the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters to report back in four weeks.