Social media regulation bill, a threat to democracy – Says CITAD

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Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD) said the proposed bill on the regulation of social media will be a major threat to democracy when passed into law.

This was contained in a press statement signed by the Executive Director CITAD YZ Ya’u and obtained by Odogwublog in Dutse.

He said the law will only gag the media and give security agencies power to detain and oppress whoever they see as critical dissent, threat or enemy to the government in power.

“The law will also give them the power to arrest individuals whose views are contrary to those holding political power.”

He explained that the bill proposed by the Nigerian Senate to regulate the social media named “Protection from Internet Falsehoods and Manipulations Bill, 2019” was aimed at denying the citizens their fundamental human rights as enshrined in the Nigerian constitution.

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“Nigerian security agencies who have been harassing, detaining individuals without court order/defying court orders, killing unarmed citizens both at peaceful protests and check points have hidden behind the senate to introduce a law that will give them more power in incarcerating and denying the citizens their fundamental human rights as enshrined in the Nigerian constitution.

“The bill if allowed to pass into law, it will give the security agencies the right to heighten the arbitrary arrest and detention of individuals and to clamp down organizations that are critical to their operations.”

CITED, therefore, urged Senate to as a matter of public interest and respect of democratic principles to withdraw the proposed bill.

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It also urged the general public and media houses to engage the Nigerian Senate in a peaceful and lawful manner to ensure the withdrawal of the bill.