The recently reintroduced social media regulation bill has been said to be inimical to freedom of expression and privacy. This was stated by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) urging the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio and Speaker, House of Representatives, Tajudeen Abbas, “to reject the bill”
SERAP also urged President Bola Tinubu’s administration to stop its efforts to compel technological firms like Google and YouTube to restrict such “fundamental human rights.”
This was contained in a statement on Sunday by the group’s deputy director, Kolawole Oluwadare.
According to SERAP, the bill would “criminalise the legitimate and lawful exercise of human rights.”
The statement read in parts: “The National Broadcasting Commission last week reportedly stated that, “one of Nigeria’s major problems now is social media,” and described social media as a monster.
The letter dated 14 October 2023 said, “social media is neither Nigeria’s problem nor a monster. Any regulation of it would have arbitrary and excessive effects, and cause incalculable damage, both in material and human rights terms.
“Any move to regulate social media would be inconsistent and incompatible with the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution 1999 [as amended] and the country’s international human rights obligations.”
“The proposed bill raises serious concerns about the rights to freedom of expression and privacy, and would lead to digital siege.”
SERAP warned that it “shall take the National Assembly and the federal government to court upon the passage of the social media bill.
It advised the federal government to maximize opportunities that abound on social media and look into the nation’s growing “social and economic inequalities.”