Social Media: A Threat to The Government
Ever wonder why the present Nigeria government has a thing or two against social media in Nigeria?
Well, the answer to this question will be analyzed as u read on.
Right from the advent of Facebook to the time of Twitter and Instagram.
Social media has played a significant role in connecting people from different parts of the world with the aim of creating a virtual connection of ideas, friendship, beliefs and experiences.
The importance of social media to the world cannot be over emphasized, a few of it’s benefits are;
a. Circulation of relevant information to many people in different locations almost at the same time,
b. Fostering civilization to different parts of the world,
c. Strengthening diplomatic ties between nations,
d. Making the world smaller than it looks by connecting people from different continents of the world,
e. Spreading love and unity among people of different race,
f. For effective monitoring of political power,
g. For accessibility and effective communication.
However, social media brings changes to government and in governing. It makes it easier for people to questions politicians, civil officials and even the entire government agencies.
It also gives the government an opportunity to engage back to the people. The war on social media began on November 5th 2019.
Introduced by the Senate, the bill was sponsored by Senator Mohammed Sani Musa.
The aim of the bill is to make it an offence of the law to use social media in spreading fake news and hate speech.
The bill was originally titled ‘Protection from Internet Falsehood and Manipulations Bill 2019.
The details of the bill was made public after it passed second reading on the floor of the Nigeria Senate.
Soon after the second passing of the bill, there were speculations on social media that the Nigeria government was secretly looking for avenues to stop the freedom of speech by passing such a bill.
The Senate was quick to deny this claim by saying that their only aim was to end the spread of fake and malicious news.
Just as the #endsars protest began in the month of October, 2020, social media brought the movement to the world’s attention.
The hastag endsars trended on all social media platforms worldwide.
On the unfortunate day of October 20, 2020, the world through the help of social media saw the atrocities committed by the government of the country against innocent protesters.
Though the government tagged all the information circulating on social media about the incident as false.
But as they claimed so, more information and evidence ranging from videos to pictures and more continued to circulate social media on the alleged killing of innocent protesters as against the earlier claim of the government that nothing of such happened.
Social media brought the world’s attention to the injustice being carried out in Nigeria.
In the middle of it all, the Minister of Information Mr Lai Mohammed flagged off the campaign to regulate social media.
We will not fold our arms and allow purveyor of fake news and hate speech to use the social media to destabilize the country” he said in one of his interviews.
He therefore tagged the reports that emaciated from the wake of the #endsars protest as ‘fake news.’
Does this then mean that any news that does not favor the government of the day is tagged fake news?
How fake can their intentions be? Seeking to silence the voice of the people by ending their freedom to press, information and communication is uncalled for.
What the government stands to gain in regulating social media are;
a. A more hidden and rigid political system,
b. A rise of dictatorship and fall of democracy,
c. A total disintegration of checks and balances in government,
d. Inability to monitor the government activities.
Weeks down the line, the Minister of Information is still clamoring for the regulation of social media “On our part.
We will not sit down and allow a reckless use of social media aggravate our fault lines and throw the country into turmoil” he said in a recent event dated 4th December, 2020.
Is there an hidden motive aside trying to curb fake and mislead information?
Is the government through the regulation of social media trying to cover their weaknesses and faults?
What economic benefits does the country stand to gain from this whole regulation? And what is there to lose?
These and more are the questions on the minds of many Nigerians regarding this issue.
We await the next step from the government in regards to the regulation of social media and the effects afterwards.
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