The Minister of State for Labour, Festus Keyamo (SAN), said on Monday that no reasonable person would support a death penalty for hate speech.
He, however, said that one cannot come online to say something totally untrue and capable of putting other lives in danger without some kind of penal consequence.
Keyamo was responding to oppositions that had continued to mount against two controversial bills currently before the Senate – the hate speech and the social media bills.
The minister wrote on his verified Twitter account – @fkeyamo:
“Those so-called overnight Social Media ‘activists’ who oppose the Social Media Bill should first stop blocking those who irritate them with insults, unblock all those they have blocked and apologise to them. You can’t be intolerant and ask others to be. Practice what you preach.
“Some cannot differentiate the Social Media Bill from the Hate Speech Bill. Whilst no reasonable person will support a death sentence for hate speech, you can’t come online to say something totally untrue that can put other lives in danger without some kind of penal consequence.
“The real agitation should be for the parliament, in line with S.36(12) of 1999 Constitution, to clearly define the TYPES of false and insensitive posts that would attract penal consequences, so that the government doesn’t abuse it. But to leave everyone to just post ANYTHING is unacceptable.
“Civil suits on defamation of character only take care of PERSONAL INSULTS. I don’t subscribe to punishment for that. But you cannot come online to deliberately post false stories, in the guise of ‘freedom of speech’, that can set the nation ablaze without some penal consequences.”
He also said those politicians who “can’t stomach defeat and prepare for another day and those who think today’s victory would last forever are our problem.”
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