Like Egypt, Nigeria quickens bill to regulate Social Media
Nigeria’s National Assembly has shown interest to pass a bill seeking to regulate activities on the social media space. Nigeria’s Senate on Wednesday read, for the second time, the bill which also seeks to curb fake news on the internet.
The bill, ‘Protection from Internet Falsehood and Manipulations Bill, 2019,’ sponsored by Mohammed Musa was introduced two weeks ago.
When the bill is assented, Nigeria will join some African countries such as Egypt which regulate the social media.
Government of Nigeria had said it was going after social media users who use to platform to criticise the government. Nigerians are among the most active users of the social media in Africa, particularly the Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
The social media play significant roles in the African politics especially during the electioneering processes. Even the sitting government in Nigeria benefited immensely from the powers of the social media.
The passage of the bill for the second time comes despite many controversies around the bill. Critics say the bill seeks to fight freedom of speech in the country.
However, Musa said the bill does not intend to gag the media but to check the spread of false information on the internet.
Musa proposed N300,000 fine for an individual if found guilty; and up to N10 million for corporate organisations.
Meanwhile, Chimaroke Nnamani (Enugu East) opposed the passage of the bill, stating that the bill was completely unnecessary given the provisions of the Cyber Crimes Act.
The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, referred the bill to the Senate Committee on Judiciary. The committee was asked to report back after four weeks.
As part of its work, the committee is expected to conduct a public hearing on the bill.