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Video: Protesters storm NASS over hate speech bill, demand Sowore’s release

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Video: Protesters storm NASS over hate speech bill, demand Sowore’s release

Members of civil society groups, on Wednesday, stormed the National Assembly in Abuja to protest against the proposed Hate Speech, Social Media Bills.

The protesters led by Convener of Concerned Nigerians, Deji Adeyanju, camped at the entrance of NASS to also demand the immediate release of Omoyele Sowore who has been in the custody of the Department of State Services despite being granted bail by the court.

The protesters carried placards with inscriptions like:

“Social media bill on hate speech is against the freedom of speech/expression.

“Hate speech bill is dead on arrival.”

The Bill for an Act to Make Provisions for the Protection from Internet Falsehood and Manipulation and for related matters 2019, sponsored by Senator Musa Sani (APC-Niger east), passed second reading at the Senate last week.

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While presenting the lead debate on the bill during plenary on Tuesday 19 November, Sani said the bill was a 36-clause legislative proposal to provide for the prevention of broadcast of falsehood and manipulative contents using the internet and its intermediaries for transmission.

“It prescribes sanctions to offenders with a view to deterrence and the penalty for defaulters ranges from fine of up to N300, 000.”

Sani added that the bill also provided for the issuance of regulations dealing with the transmission of false statements of facts in Nigeria upon declaration.

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Senators from the ruling APC and opposition PDP have thrown their weight behind the bill.

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Tweeting with the hashtags #NoToSocialMediaBill, #NoToHateSpeechBill, Nigerians have opposed the bill and raised concerns that it would clamp down on freedom of speech and would wage war against critics of government.

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