Nigeria: The Social Media Bill Comes With Enormous Gains - Lawmaker

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(file photo).
26 November 2019

Senator Mohammed Musa (APC- Niger), has urged Nigerians to support the social media bill before the National Assembly because it was aimed at protecting human dignity.

Musa said this in a statement on Monday in Abuja.

He said the bill, when assented to, would protect human dignity among many other inherent gains.

The Senate had on Nov 5, re-introduced the 'Protection from Internet Falsehood and Manipulations Bill 2019', to regulate the use of social media in the country.

The bill, which was sponsored by Sen. Musa, was aimed at curbing fake news on the internet and to guide social media users.

"The social media bill comes with enormous gains such as a free internet that guarantees national security; protects minors from abusive forms of marketing, violence, and pornography.

"The bill, when assented to, will protect human dignity from incitement to racial hatred or racial discrimination.

"It will provide economic security and curb fraud, as well as provide instructions on pirating credit cards.

"It will also provide security, protect privacy from unauthorised communication of personal data, electronic harassment; protection of reputation and intellectual property as propounded by the European Union Paper on illegal and harmful content on the internet," he said.

The lawmaker said that although Nigerians might be afraid that the law could be manipulated by politicians and government officials, it was not enough to negate the overall gains of the regulation.

He urged Nigerians to support the voyage, reiterating that it would guarantee sanity, protect rights and sensitivities on the internet.

He, however, faulted claim that the bill which had similarities with a Singaporean Statue subject was plagiarised.

According to him, it is preposterous that this is said to be an instance of plagiarism.

The lawmaker said that legislations across the globe are public documents and national legislatures do not claim right over them, as to form the basis for a claim for plagiarism over their effectiveness.

He said that the problems and challenges of regulating internet activities cuts across jurisdictions and was therefore inevitable that lessons should be drawn from other jurisdictions in fashioning out workable solutions in Nigeria.

He urged the general public not to heed to the immature attempt by uninformed mischief makers who were trying to distort the progress of the bill.

Musa said the law when enacted, would become a universal template that could be adopted and domesticated to fit peculiarities.

"Beyond the public speaking, the internet space in Nigeria has become corrosive. Information whether true or false spreads like wildfire.

"We may have the capacity to regulate the internet space but it is extremely difficult to regulate the effect of hate speech distributed through online platforms.

"We need a more standardised approach and this is the crux of the move to sanitise the corrosive internet space in Nigeria," he said.

Vanguard News Nigeria.

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