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#Nigerian #Social MediaBill Against #FreeSpeech is Highly Criticised

Twitter / @MrAyeDee
A newly proposed bill in Nigeria that would punish people who criticise officials and politicians on social media is being subject to mass disapproval and protest. In accordance with the new policy, any person found to make an allegation against a person - particularly those in public office - could face a two to seven year jail term.

The bill, which is tagged: “A Bill for an Act to Prohibit Frivolous Petitions and other Matters Connected therewith” is said to attack the human right of free speech. Social media and messaging services such as Whatsapp are gaining popularity in the country, and this new legislation could potentially prohibit their use. Not only does the bill bring the possibility of incarceration, it could also mean the prosecuted face a hefty fine - between $10,000 and $25,000.

Mr Lanre Ajayi, the President of the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), thinks that the bill would take the country backward in the internet world.

Ajayi said that the internet was open and its openness had led to innovations being enjoyed by everyone. "I find it very strange and very disturbing. The internet is there for development and now our own country is trying to hinder development by introducing censorship into it."

Social media users in Nigeria and abroad are not happy about the potential move. They have taken to Twitter to express their contempt for the plans, which has caused the hashtag #NoToSocialMediaBill to gain popularity.

Any nation should benefit from the uninhibited opinions of its citizens in order to make for a fairer, more just and well-balanced society. Any plans to disrupt this is, in my opinion, only likely to cause more disparity in a country that is making progress with modern technology. From the response seen online, it appears that Nigerians are not willing to let the bill pass without a fight. President Muhammadu Buhari does not appear to support the bill - in a statement posted on Facebook, his spokesman said the president would not support “any legislation that may be inconsistent with the constitution of Nigeria.”

SMF rookie, fresh out of academia, looking forward to more creative ventures. With a love of current affairs, green tea and an ever insatiable wanderlust, Katie is ready to have her voice heard. Follow her @KatieAtSMF

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#Nigerian #Social MediaBill Against #FreeSpeech is Highly Criticised Reviewed by Unknown on Sunday, December 13, 2015 Rating: 5

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