Social Media Bill: Senate Proposes N10m Fine, Three Years Imprisonment For Offenders

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Despite public outcry, the Senate on Wednesday passed the Social Media into second reading as the lawmakers proposed three years imprisonment for the offenders.

The bill is seeking protection from internet falsehood and manipulations.
Leading debate on the bill, Senator Mohammed Sani stated that as much as the internet has numerous benefits, it is also used for the purpose of manipulating information and spreading falsehoods.

He noted that state and non-state actors engaged in geopolitical interests and identity politics, use internet falsehood to discredit governments, misinform people and turn one group against another.

Sani said: “The bill is a 36-clause legislative proposal.

“It clearly provides for the prevention of broadcast of falsehood and manipulative content using internet and its intermediaries for transmission.

“It prescribes sanctions to offenders with a view to deference.

“The penalties for defaulters range from fines up to N300,000 for individuals up to N10 million for others and imprisonment up to three years or both.

“The bill also provides for issuance of regulations dealing with transmission of false statements of facts in Nigeria upon declaration.

“It also issues guidelines for internet intermediaries and providers of mass media services and sanctions for offenders.”

Speaking in support of the bill, Senator Ibrahim Gobir urged the Senate to expedite action on the bill.
Also in his own contribution, Senator Elisha Abbo commended the sponsor of the bill, saying the issue of fake news need to be regulated because it is a cancer waiting to consume everyone in the country.

Abbo said: “I want to commend Distinguished Senator Musa for sponsoring this Bill.

“The issue of fake news in this country, if it’s not regulated, is a cancer waiting to consume all of us.

“Even conventional media that are regulated are suffering from falsehood.”
However, Senator Ken Nnamani kicked against the bill.

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