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‘It will check character assassination’ — Gov Abiodun backs social media bill

‘It will check character assassination’ — Gov Abiodun backs social media bill
December 02
19:19 2019
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Dapo Abiodun, governor of Ogun state, has expressed support for the proposed law to regulate social media in Nigeria.

Speaking at an event to mark 160 years of journalism in Abeokuta, the state capital, on Monday, Abiodun said the law will help sanitise the social media and stem the rise of misinformation.

A statement from Kunle Somorin, his chief press secretary, also quoted the governor as saying such law will hold citizen journalists accountable.

The bill, which has scaled second reading at senate, has been condemned by many Nigerians as an attempt to clamp down on free speech.

Abiodun said while he does not support extreme measures like death penalty for offences like misinformation, the law will end the “rise of malicious and deliberate misinformation by some unethical social media users.”

He accused some persons of misusing information to target other Nigerians “for character assassination and portray people in bad light.”

“We have to find a win-win situation. The idea is not to gag the media in any form or manner, but to ensure that the media is held responsible for carrying out their responsibility; and of cause, the issue of death penalty is not called for,” he said.

Abiodun also accused “unscrupulous elements” of triggering calls for extreme measures for people found guilty of deliberately misinforming the public.

“This has prompted a lot of reactions from different quarters, with some even calling for death penalties for people who are found guilty of what has now become popularly referred to as the hate speech,” he said.

“It is, therefore, imperative that journalists should always be on their guard against forces that seek to take advantage of the formidable power of the profession for their selfish aims.”

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