The Coalition for Civil Society Groups against human rights violation has called on Nigerians to speak against the proposed social media bill by the National Assembly and the establishment of a Commission to tackle fake news.
The President of the group, Mr. Olufemi Lawson stated this while addressing journalists in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.
He said Nigerians have the freedom to express themselves as provided in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
”Section 39 of the 1999 constitution, as amended provides for right to freedom of expression and the press, Subsection 1 of that section amplifies further by stating that every person shall be entitled to freedom of expression, including freedom to hold opinions and receive and impart ideas and information.”
Mr. Lawson said some people are trying to gag the freedom of Nigerians by this bill.
”The way things are going it will soon reach the time that before you go anyway, you say anything, in your religious gathering or even in your family, you may have to be subjected.”
According to him, one can always tell the degree of freedom in a country from the tone and temperament of its press, the variety and diversity of its print and electronic media, and the array of voices on its air waves.
The group argues that the Pro hate speech and social media Bills is that such laws should be put in place in the national interest.
”The question here is who defines national interest and what determines it, what national interest is meant to be served by any laws which suppresses the press and political activists.”
The group however called for the immediate release of Mr. Ibrahim Danmaliki Gidan Goga a journalist and human rights activists, who has been unlawfully detained by the Zamafara state governor, Bello Muhammad Matawalle.
”It is our belief that in a civilized and democratic society, aggrieved citizens have the right of speaking freely against or convening peaceful assemblies, meetings and rallies against unpopular government measures and policies.