Nigeria: Hate Speech - IPI Urges Nigerians to Debate Bill At Public Hearing

2 December 2019

The International Press Institute (IPI, Nigerian Chapter) has urged Nigerians to use the opportunity of the impending public hearing to push for desired amendments or changes to the bill prior to its likely passage or rejection by the legislature.

This is contained in a statement jointly signed by Kabiru Yusuf, Chairman, IPI Nigerian Chapter; Mallam Wada Maida, member, IPI Executive Board; and Raheem Adedoyin, Secretary, IPI Nigerian Chapter, and made available to journalist yesterday.

The institute noted that some stakeholders, including individuals and groups, have declared that the Hate Speech Bill is inimical to Press Freedom and the exercise of right to Free Speech.

"As the global network of Editors, Publishers, Media Executives, Communication Scholars, Senior Journalists/Media Executives and experts in the communication industry on press freedom, the IPI, Nigerian Chapter firmly understands the implications of any law with contentious provisions for free speech, press freedom, media independence, safety of journalism practitioners and the unhindered operations of media businesses.

"We wish to make it known that IPI does not in any way support the peddling of Hate Speech, Fake News and deliberate misinformation through any social or conventional media platform," the statement said.

The IPI members said they are aware that peddling of hate speech, carrying of fake news and deliberate misinformation are usually the preserve of quacks and non-professionals who have no regard for the implications that such acts would have for the polity and for national peace and security.

"But we are decidedly opposed to laws with prescription of capital punishment and any other stiff and dehumanising penalties for such abuse of the media space. As responsible leaders of journalism, we appeal to all real stakeholders to go beyond the open condemnations by seizing the opportunity that would be presented at the impending public hearing to vigorously push for desired amendments or changes to any such Bill prior to its likely passage or rejection by the legislature," they said.

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