The human rights organisation, Amnesty International has registered its opposition to plans by the Federal Government towards regulating the usage of social media and online broadcasters.
Ripples Nigeria had reported that the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed urged the House of Representatives to incorporate the regulation of social media in the National Broadcasting Commission Act.
“I will want to add, that specifically, internet broadcasting and all online media should be included in this because we have a responsibility to monitor content— including Twitter,” the Minister said.
However, in its reaction via a tweet on Thursday, Amnesty International noted that when Social Media is regulated, authorities can arbitrarily have powers to shut down the internet and limit access to social media.
It further noted that criticizing the government will be made punishable with penalties of up to three years in prison.
“When Social Media is Regulated, Authorities can arbitrarily have powers to shut down the internet and limit access to social media.
“Criticizing the government will be made punishable with penalties of up to three years in prison.
“Regulating social media in Nigeria could be easily abused to punish critics of government policies and actions, and anyone who asks difficult questions could find themselves liable for ‘diminishing public confidence in the government.’
>“Seeking a law to prohibit abusive, threatening and insulting behaviour is open to very wide interpretation. This section would pose a threat to critical opinion, satire, public dialogue, and political commentary,” Amnesty added.
By Mayowa Oladeji
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