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Controversial Social Media Bill: Keyamo Supports Punishment for Fake News

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Festus Keyamo supports social media bill

Minister of State for Labour and productivity, Festus Keyamo (SAN) said, there must be a penalty for posting false information on social media.

The Minister in a series of tweets on Monday stated that activists who oppose the bill seeking to regulate social media should stop blocking people who irritate them on the platforms, as it shows intolerance.

Keyamo however advised those opposing the move to channel their energies to the parliament, a body saddled with the responsibility of defining the types of false and insensitive posts that would attract penal consequences, so that the government doesn’t abuse the law.

He, however, added that there shouldn’t be punishment for cases of character defamation, which would be settled in court, stressing that no one should also be allowed to post false information all in the name of free speech.

Mr. Keyamo’s posts have since generated a lot of arguments on twitter. While some shared his stance on the topic, others knocked him for supporting what they described as an ‘evil agenda’.

You may recall that the ‘Protection from internet falsehoods and manipulation and other related matters’ bill, popularly called ‘Social Media Bill’ was presented to the Nigerian Senate by Senator Muhammad Sani Musa of Niger East, on November 5, 2019.

According to Sani Musa, the bill, among other things, seeks to check the spread of falsehood, fake news and regulate the social media space in defence of national security. The senator, however, explained that the bill aims to guide users and not to gag media practitioners in Nigeria.

Wife of the Nigerian President, Mrs. Aisha Buhari has also supported the regulation of social media in the country. In her opinion, the bill if passed into law, would do more good than harm. This opinion, however, met harsh criticism.

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