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Department of Hate Speech: Coup Against The Media

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ElevateNews takes a look at the plan to establish an agency for hate speech through legislation.

On Tuesday,the bill seeking an agency for hate speech passed the first reading. The billwants the government to create the National Commission for the Prohibition ofHate Speeches.

This is coming barely a week that the Minister of Information and Culture posited that the government would be regulating social media.

With the plan to establish the “Hate Speech” Department, it will add to a number of agencies under the Ministry of Information.

I see this bill to become law soon because it is what will help this administration to shut the mouths of its critics. It is a coup against the press and citizen journalism.

The NigeriaUnion of Journalist, Lagos Council kicked against the planned regulation of thesocial media after its monthly congress on Saturday.

The NigerianGuild of Editors has also kicked against the idea, saying that the governmentwould be breaching the freedom of the press law with this regulation.

Reacting tothis plan, a social crusader, Reno Omokri took to its twitter platform onTuesday, adding, “An administration that climbed the ladder of social media topower is destroying the ladder so others can’t climb. A government that usedhate speech to slur their rivals now wants to criminalise free speech as hatespeech. Nigeria, what will you do?”

On Tuesdayagain, the police teargassed hundreds of peaceful protesters who stormed theheadquarters of the Department of State Service against the continuousdetention of the publisher of the online medium, Sahara Reporter, Mr. OmoyeleSowore.

Sowore hadcalled and organized a protest tagged, “RevolutionNow”. He was arrested,prosecuted and the court ordered his release but the DSS has refused to set himfree.

Almost all the conventional media outfits now use the social media platform to engage their followers. Lai Mohammed once told the Senate during the ministerial screening that he had never lied in his life.

The ministerused extensively the social media as the National Publicity Secretary of theAll Progressives Congress to the extent that Nigerians nicknamed him as “LieMohammed’. It seems the Minister of Information is being haunted by what hehelped the media to create.

To him, withthe speed at which Nigerians are losing hope in this government, the worst itcould offer to stabilize the polity is by shutting down the social media.

I think this is the best time the government of President Muhammadu Buhari can actually impress Nigerians with a good performance so that the social media trolls can favour it.

The economic depression is biting the citizens so hard that the only thing that is giving them solace is the tantrums that go on the social media platforms. With the planned clampdown on social media, the government may be inviting public outburst from the citizens.

This may goout of control because there will be no social platform for the Nigerians tovent their anger.

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