The minister of Information Alhaji Lai Mohammed had come out to explain the reason behind the increased hate speech fine from N500,000 to N5 Million. The minister explained that the fee was increased because the old fee was too easy to pay by broadcast stations.
What motivated the amendment was that when the fine was N500,000 we saw the provision being violated at will because the amount was very easy to pay. The minister explained that some desperate people, who know that their broadcast content contains hate speech, will insist that the broadcast stations should air it while they bear the cost of the fine.
The minister noted that those attacking the government over the increase, must remember that hate speech had destroyed many countries. He recalled that Rwandan lost 800,000 lives to hate speech while Bosnia and Cambodia equally lost thousands of lives to the menace. Lai Mohammed said that Nigeria is not the only country to impose sanction on hate speech, adding that some nations have more stringent provisions.
“Chad has today slow down the speed of its internet service to slow down the growth of hate speech. “Iceland has a provision in its penal code against hate speech and the punishment is up to five years in jail. “The sanction in Norway is up to two years imprisonment while South Africa separated hate speech from the protection their citizens can get from the constitution.
Lai Mohammed said that hate speech is not new but the social media and its wildfire capacity to spread information made it to be more problematic. He, therefore, reiterated the resolve of the government to regulate the social media without stifling the freedom of speech.
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