The Federal Government has proposed to spend the sum of N336 million on campaign against hate speech, fake news, banditry, farmers-herders clashes, rape and testimonial series to gauge impact of government policies on the citizenry.
This was disclosed under the budget of the Ministry of Information and Culture, which was part of the 2021 budget proposal President Muhammadu Buhari presented to the National Assembly last week Thursday.
Part of the document reads, “ERGP9124023 Special enlightenment campaign on government policies and programmes; testimonial series to gauge the impact of government policies on the citizenry, advocacy against fake news, hate speech, farmers-herder clashes, banditry, rape etc. ongoing- N336,015,959.”
Back story: Nairametrics reported on August 4, 2020, the Federal Government’s increase of fine for hate speech from N500,000 to N5 million.
The announcement was made by the Minister for Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, at the unveiling ceremony of the revised National Broadcasting Code by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) in Lagos on Tuesday.
This new regulation is part of the amended Nigerian Broadcasting Code which contains Antitrust provision aimed at boosting local content and encouraging the growth of the local industry, among other provisions.
The Federal Government has in recent times put in place several strict measures to tackle hate speech and fake news amid criticisms from rights groups that it is a ruse to stifle free speech.
A bill that imposes the death penalty on “any person found guilty of any form of hate speech that results in the death of another person” is currently before the Senate.
Tagged “National Commission for the Prohibition of Hate Speeches”, the bill is sponsored by the Deputy Chief Whip of the Senate, Abdullahi Aliu Sabi.
It stated that any person who commits an offence under this section shall be liable to life imprisonment and where the act causes any loss of life, the person shall be punished with death by hanging.