The proposed Protection from Internet Falsehoods, Manipulations and Other Related Matter Bill 2019 stirred diverse arguments as to whether it is to be or not.
At the public hearing on the Protection from Internet Faslehood and Manipulations: and for Related Matters Bill, 2019 (SB.132) on Monday in Abuja convened by Senate Committee on Judiciary and Chaired by Senator Opeyemi Bamidele (Chairman Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters)
Eighty (80) percent of the speakers opposed protection from internet falsehoods and manipulation bill, asking the lawmakers to discard the controversial bill.
They expressed worries over the impact such a bill would have on media houses, journalists, and other online users who make a living off the social platforms if implemented.
President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, said the Senate’s eventual position will be partly dependent on the Committee’s report on the social media bill adding that the internet has reshaped on how we live and interact. He agreed that matters of freedom of speech and the inalienable rights of the citizens are issues that shouldn’t be compromised.
Publisher Sahara Reporter, Omoyele Sowore said the Bill is about the protection of those in power and was of the opinion that it should not see the light of day.
But sponsor of the bill, Senator Mohammed Sani in his submission insisted the that even if the bill is dropped, he will continue to push to ensure that the social media is regulated in Nigeria.
Among those who threw their weight behind the piece of legislation are the Nigerian army and the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs. Major Gen. Solomon Udoma-Reps. Chief Of Army Staff.
Others argued that passage of the Protection from Internet Falsehoods, Manipulations and Other Related Matters Bill 2019 gives the police limitless powers to arrest and prosecute internet offenders.
Not less than 60 Civil Society Organisations, Media Practitioners stakeholders drawn from Civil Society Organisations(CSO) Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), Student groups, the Media, Amnesty International, and concerned Nigerians made their reservations on the controversial anti social media bill.