Why FG raised hate speech fine to N5m – Lai Mohammed

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The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has given reasons why the Federal Government increased the fine for hate speech from N500,000 to N5 million in the amended National Broadcasting Code.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, gave the explanation on Friday when he featured on a TVC live programme, “This Morning”.

He explained that the increment was to deter people deliberately violating the provision “to destabilise the country”.

“What motivated the amendment was that when the fine was N500,000, we saw the provision being violated at will because the amount was very easy to pay,” he said.

Mohammed while unveiling the reviewed Nigeria Broadcasting Code earlier on Tuesday in Lagos disclosed that the fine for hate speech had been increased to N5million.

He explained that the amendments were necessitated by a presidential directive for an inquiry into the regulatory role of the National Broadcasting Commission and the conduct of broadcast stations before, during, and after the elections.

The minister lamented that “some desperate people” were asking broadcast stations to air hate speeches with an indemnity that they would bear the cost of the fine if the stations were sanctioned.

Recall that Nigerian Bar Association, senior lawyers and human rights groups on Tuesday took a swipe at the Federal Government for raising the fine for hate speech from N500,000 to N5m.

But the minister reminded those attacking the government that hate speech destroyed many countries, citing Rwanda as an example.

He recalled that Rwandan lost 800,000 lives to hate speech while Bosnia and Cambodia equally lost thousands of lives to the menace.

Mohammed said that Nigeria is not the only country to impose sanctions on hate speech, adding that some nations have more stringent provisions.

“Chad has today slowed down the speed of its internet service to slow down the growth of hate speech.

“Iceland has a provision in its penal code against hate speech and the punishment is up to five years in jail.

“The sanction in Norway is up to two years imprisonment while South Africa separated hate speech from the protection their citizens can get from the constitution,” NAN quoted the minister as saying.

The minister said that hate speech is not new but social media and its wildfire capacity to spread information made it to be more problematic.

He, therefore, reiterated the resolve of the government to regulate social media without stifling the freedom of speech.

Call Bridget Edokwe Esq on 08060798767 or send your email to ngbarrister@gmail.com

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