Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has called on Nigerian Ruler, Muhammadu Buhari to “immediately reverse the unconstitutional and illegal increase in ‘hate speech fine’ from N500,000 to N5m.”
The regime had on Tuesday, announced the increase of fine for hate speech from N500,000 to N5 million.
The announcement was made by the Minister for Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, at the unveiling ceremony of the revised National Broadcasting Code by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) in Lagos on Tuesday.
The Minister said that the Antitrust provision will boost local content and local industry due to laws prohibiting exclusive use of rights by broadcasters who intend to create monopolies and hold the entire market to themselves. The provision will also open access to premium content.
Reacting to this development, SERAP, in a tweet via its Twitter handle, wrote:
“We’re calling on President Buhari to immediately reverse the unconstitutional and illegal increase in ‘hate speech fine’ from N500,000 to N5m.
“We’ll fight to challenge this illegality in court to make sure that the fine doesn’t become another tool for repression.
“This fine would further curtail freedom of expression and open the door for law enforcement officials to target critics.
“The fine fails to meet the standards of legality, necessity and proportionality in article 19(3) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.“
The Commission said the Buhari-led regime should be removing restrictions on freedom of expression, not imposing heavy fines that risk stifling critical public debate on important issues.
“The leadership of the National Assembly should publicly condemn this restriction on constitutional rights,” it added.