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Hate Speech: Lai Muhammed says there’s no bill targeting social media in Nigerian Senate

Hate Speech Bill: Information Minister, Lai Muhammed has said Tuesday there is no bill targeting social media in the Nigerian Senate.

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In November 2020, two senators from Niger State Senators Sani Musa (APC Niger East) and Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi (APC Niger North) put in place two obnoxious bills as the Internet Falsehood Manipulation Bill and Establishment of National Commission for Prohibition of Hate Speeches Bill.

Anti-social Media Bill was introduced on 5 November 2019 to criminalise the use of the social media in peddling false or malicious information. The original title of the bill is Protection from Internet Falsehood and Manipulations Bill 2019.

According to Amnesty International  the Bills on hate speech and social media are dangerous attacks on freedom of expression.

The existing Cyber Crimes Act and the Anti-Terrorism Act, which already cover many of the offences the new bills seek to address, have been used as tools to gag freedom of expression in Nigeria.

International law and standards require States to prohibit in law advocacy of hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence (commonly known as “hate speech”). Such prohibitions need to be set forth in law and formulated precisely.

The law and its application must also comply with the required guarantees on the right to freedom of expression, and in particular must meet the requirements of necessity and proportionality, in compliance with Article 19(3) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

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