The Federal government has declared hate speech as an act of terrorism and warned that it will, henceforth, prosecute those who indulge in the practice. Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said henceforth, offenders of dangerous comments would be treated in accordance with the 2011 terrorism Act.
The Guardian reports that the minister who spoke yesterday at the second National Conference of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Kano reminded that government directive from National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to sanction any broadcast station who allows its airwave to be used as medium for promotion of hate speeches, is still in place.
According to Mohammed, the Federal Government has continued to promote ethical standard and the core responsibility of the Journalism profession, but an attempt to circumvent its rightful position in the society could be inimical to the national cohesion. He said the media as moulder of public view has huge responsibility of preserving national unity, public values and peaceful co-existence.
“As gatekeeper, the media is expected in high hope to build responsible and lead vibrant societal development devoid of dangerous and hate speeches. The Federal Government will continue to promote and uphold ethical standard.”
Besides, a member representing Gumel, Gagarawa Megatiri federal constituency at the House of Representatives, Mohammad Sani Soro advocated legislative intervention on social media to check the devastating act of hate speeches on the platform.
Represented by the permanent secretary in the ministry, Grace Ita-Gekpe, the minister posited that as postulated by provisions of the constitution, freedom of expression and speeches privilege should not be abused. Declaring the conference open, Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje said national discuss on hate speeches cannot be considered more appropriate given the multiple challenges bedevilling the country’s unity and values. Ganduje applauded the union’s foresight and the choice of Kano to hold the national conference.