Amnesty International has stated that the proposed social media regulation which has been supported by Ministers since the beginning of the #EndSARS protests would be used as a tool to punish critics of the government.
Amnesty International disclosed this on Monday morning via its official Twitter handle, as it warned that such regulation would be used to silence critics and also punish them.
“Social media regulation could easily empower those in power to punish critics of government’s policies and actions, and anyone who asks difficult questions could find themselves liable to incredibly harsh punishment,” AI tweeted.
Summary of Social Media Regulation;
—Social media users will be punished for freely expressing their opinions.
—Govt. can arbitrarly shut down the internet and limit access to social media.
—Criticizing government will be punishable with penalties, including years in prison.
— Amnesty International Nigeria (@AmnestyNigeria) November 8, 2020
AI went on to list other negative impacts of social media regulation. It said, in summary, with social media regulation;
- Social media users will be punished for freely expressing their opinions.
- Govt. can arbitrarly shut down the internet and limit access to social media.
- Criticizing government will be punishable with penalties, including years in prison.
What you should know
Nairametrics reported last week that the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, said the Federal Government has no plans of shutting down social media but must regulate it to prevent the spread of hate speech.
“However, we must regulate social media in a manner that it does not become a purveyor of fake news and hate speech.
‘We will not fold our arms to allow purveyors of fake news and hate speech to use the social media to destabilize the country,” he said.
The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, stated that social media regulation will have to go through due process in the National Assembly.
The President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Olumide Akpata, said the Federal Government’s plan to introduce regulation of social media after the #EndSARS protests are suspicious, as the social media space is already regulated.