By Philip Clement
Experts representing different Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in Nigeria have urged the federal government to bury their plan of regulating the social media.
The federal government through the Minister for Information and culture, Lai Mohammed have always maintained it’s stand in regulating the social media space.
Currently, a bill to that regard has already passed second reading in the Senate.
However, in a virtual town hall meeting organized by TechHer, in partnership with Silver Chip Fox Consulting and supported by Connected Development (CODE), the federal government have been advised to rescind their decision.
The virtual Town Hall Meeting had it’s focus on ‘People, Technology, and Movements’ in following the #EndSARS protests by providing an opportunity for open, reflective dialogue on technology, women and the evolution of movements/citizens protests in Nigeria.
Speaking, the first session which centred on “The role/evolution of technology in movements from 2011 – 2020”, founder of TechHer, Chioma Agwuegbo alluded to the fact that technology has made information sharing and gathering easier.
She added that that there is no justifiable reason for the government to talk about regulating social media when there are existing roles to that regard.
“Technology has made everything more seemless especially in information gathering and sharing, in the case of live streaming and other platforms of information sharing.
“Today you can use drones during protest to get pictures and ariel view of what is happening.
“As such protest is part of people’s rights, I see no reason why the federal government will want to regulate it.
“Already we have a law that address libel and slander as well as the cybercrime law, so a new social media law will not add anything,” she said.
Also speaking, Gbenga Sesan of Paradigm Initiative Nigeria) explained that misinformation cannot be the basis for regulating social media.
According to him, misinformation could happen to anyone while disinformation remains a deliberate act to mislead people.
“Disinformation is what the government should be tackling, which is people that deliberately intend to twist information and mislead others, as we have today the biggest sharers of fake news is the government.
“What we need is a law that will allow us seek redress when our rights are violated and not a social media law.
“Countries like Gambia, Rwanda, Cameroon, Gambia among others who tried it just wasted their resources and the same case will be with Nigeria if they continue,” he further stated.
Also contributing, Maryam Laushi, an Ambassador of Not Too Young To Run movement stated that the town hall meeting has served as a platform to harness views on deploying technology in information sharing and also redesign strategies for holding government accountability, in a bid to foster national unity and development.