Freedom of Expression Foundational to Democracy, US Lashes Nigeria Over Twitter Ban

by on June 11, 2021

The United States Government has condemned Nigeria’s continued ban of Twitter saying the action “has no place in a democracy.”

“Freedom of expression and access to information both online and offline are foundational to prosperous and secure democratic societies,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said Thursday in a statement calling for the African nation to reverse its Twitter suspension.

He said the U.S. “condemns the ongoing suspension of Twitter by the Nigerian government and subsequent threats to arrest and prosecute Nigerians who use Twitter. The United States is likewise concerned that the Nigerian National Broadcasting Commission ordered all television and radio broadcasters to cease using Twitter.”

The U.S. had joined the European Union, Britain, Ireland and Canada last weekend in criticizing the Nigerian action. The Abuja government indefinitely banned Twitter after the U.S. social media company deleted a tweet from President Muhammadu Buhari’s account for violating its rules.

Nigeria blocked access to Twitter in the country indefinitely on Friday evening, shortly after the company deleted a tweet by the country’s president, adding Africa’s most populous country to a short list of nations that have barred their citizens from using Twitter ; China, North Korea, Iran.

Nigeria’s faceoff with Twitter started earlier this week, when President Muhammadu Buhari threatened to deal with separatist groups accused of violence “in the language they understand,” a reference to the country’s brutal civil war more than 50 years ago. Twitter blocked Buhari from tweeting for 12 hours and ordered him to delete the post, which it claimed violated the site’s rules, the BBC reported.

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