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Senate proposes 3-year imprisonment for social media ‘offenders’

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By Toby Prince

The Senate is proposing a three-year prison sentence for social media offenders.

The bill passed first reading on Wednesday.

Entitled ‘protection from internet falsehood and manipulations bill, 2019’, the bill is sponsored by Mohammed Sani Musa, senator representing Niger east.

The proposed legislation was one of the 11 bills read for the first time on Tuesday.

Speaking with journalists in Abuja, the sponsor of the bill said Nigeria needs the legislation because it would protect its “fragile unity”.

“There has never been a time when Nigeria has been very fragile in terms of its unity than this period,” Musa said.

“It is not to stop people from going into the internet to do whatever they feel legitimately is okay to do but what we felt is wrong is for you to use the medium to document information that you know is false, just because you want to achieve your desirable interest.”

He said the bill proposes a punishment of N150,000 fine or three years imprisonment for any offender.

“If it is a corporate organisation that refused to block that false information despite the fact that they have been alerted by authorities not to disseminate that information for public interest and they still go ahead and do it, refusing to do that blockage will be penalised between N5 million to N10 million for those organisations,” the senator said.

“For example, MTN, Glo, 9 mobile etc. which we use their platform in transmitting these information, if nothing is done, we fine them and you will see that it will be a deterrent to others.”

In the previous senate, there was a similar bill sponsored by Bala Na’Allah, then deputy majority leader.

But the bill was withdrawn after outrage by some Nigerians.

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Support our journalism with a contribution of any size

Nigeria's media space is swamped with falsehood, deceit and delusion. Just a handful abides by the truth. TheNigerian is one of the unique platforms helping to shape the global narrative about Nigeria and her citizens across the world. It's quite costly to maintain this brand of journalism, however.

Readers from around the world, like you, make TheNigerian's work possible. We need your support to deliver quality, investigative journalism – and to keep it open for everyone. At a time when factual, honest reporting is critical, your support is essential in protecting our editorial independence. Every contribution, however big or small, is so valuable for our future.

Our brand of professional citizens' journalism requires a contribution from members of the public, patronage and sponsorship to thrive. We rely on this financial support to be able to carry out our numerous obligations of training, running cost, production, printing and general services. We also embark on Corporate Social Responsibilities through educational programs on our TV, newspaper and blogs.

Make a token donation to support us:
Account Name: Patriot and Sage Digital Communication Ltd
Account No: 1015619537
Bank Name: Zenith Bank

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