The federal government has stated that it increased the fine for hate speech from N500, 000 to N5 million in the amended National Broadcasting Code to deter people “who are willingly violating the provision to destabilise the country.”
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, stated this on Friday when he featured on a TVC live Programme, This Morning monitored by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
The minister in 2019 announced the approval of President Muhammadu Buhari for the increase of the fine which was later stipulated in the amended Broadcasting Code.
“What motivated the amendment was that when the fine was N500, 000 we saw the provision being violated at will because the amount was very easy to pay,” he said.
The minister said some desperate people, who knew that their broadcast content contained hate speech, would insist that the broadcast stations should air it while they bore the cost of the fine.
Mohammed said, “Nigeria is not the only country to impose sanction on hate speech, adding that some nations have more stringent provisions.
“Chad has today slow down the speed of its internet service to slow down the growth of hate speech. Iceland has a provision in its penal code against hate speech and the punishment is up to five years in jail.
“The sanction in Norway is up to two years imprisonment while South Africa separated hate speech from the protection their citizens can get from the constitution.”
According to him, hate speech is not new but the social media and its wildfire capacity to spread information made it to be more problematic.
He, therefore, reiterated the resolve of the government to regulate the social media without stifling the freedom of speech.