The International Press Institute (IPI) Nigerian chapter has restated its opposition to laws with prescription of capital punishment or any other stiff and dehumanising penalties for such abuse of the media space.
Making its stand public in a press statement issued by the chairman of the IPI Nigerian chapter, Kabiru Yusuf, member, Malam Wada Maida, and secretary, Raheem Adedoyin, on Sunday, it stated that, although “IPI does not in any way support the peddling of hate speech, fake news and deliberate misinformation through any social or conventional media platform, it will never support any law that will gag the press or the Nigerian people.”
The statement read in part: “The Hate Speech and other Media-related Bills currently being considered by the National Assembly have continued to attract comments and condemnations from various sections of the society. Some stakeholders, including individuals and groups, have declared that the Hate Speech Bill is inimical to press freedom and the exercise of right to free speech.
“As the global network of editors, publishers, media executives, communication scholars, senior journalists/media executives and experts in the communication industry on press freedom, the International Press Institute (IPI, Nigerian chapter) firmly understands the implications of any law with contentious provisions for free speech, press freedom, media independence, safety of journalism practitioners and the unhindered operations of media businesses.
“As responsible leaders of journalism, we appeal to all real stakeholders to go beyond the open condemnations by seizing the opportunity that would be presented at the impending public hearing to vigorously push for desired amendments or changes to any such Bill prior to its likely passage or rejection by the legislature.
“We also sincerely suggest that members of the National Assembly should patriotically explore the alternatives of either re-examining the provisions of the Cyber Crime Act (2015) to accommodate current realities or advocating the applications, when necessary, of its provisions to check any negative use of social media.”