By Matthew Ogune, Abuja
A coalition of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) has proposed democratic solutions that are capable of combating the problem of fake news published on the internet from anywhere in the world.
Speaking at a press conference to unveil the solutions in Abuja, co-covener of centre for Liberty Adebayo Raphael, insisted that the proposed Social Media Bill, if passed, will cause greater harm to Nigeria’s democracy and civic spaces than it is trying to cure.
Among the solutions highlited by the group for consideration by the National Assembly are: public awareness campaign, rebuttal units to counter false publications, working alongside social media platforms to hlep in flagging down false publications and Civil Society group advocacy.
According to Raphael passage of the bill will cause the government to ride rough shod on the rights of citizens and especially Rightsholders such as people living with disability, age discriminated group, indigenous ethnic minorities, women facing exploitation and abuse and violence, and the media.
He maintained: “As a democratic country, Nigeria must practice and uphold the tenets of democracy in all its dealings and approaches.
“We, therefore, hope that the highlighted solutions will be seriously considered by our legislators and the federal government, just as we pledge our unflinching resolve to support the government in adopting any or all of the measures highlighted above, in combating the problem of Internet Falsehoods or Online Fake News in Nigeria.”
The ‘Protection from Internet Falsehoods and Manipulation and Other Related Matters Bill, 2019’ also known as Social Media Bill is one of the two anti-democratic Bills before the Nigerian Senate seeking to delimit freedom of expression.
The bill is sponsored by Sen. Muhammad Sani Musa and first introduced on the floor of the Nigerian Senate in November 2019.
The ‘Social Media Bill’ has elicited widespread condemnation from the Nigerian public, especially the youth, media and women, who consider themselves the primary target of the proposed Bill.
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