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JUST IN: Nigerian Government Demands Power From Lawmakers To Regulate Both Social Media And Online Media

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The President Muhammadu Buhari regime has asked the House of Representatives to empower the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to regulate the activities of internet broadcasting entities and other online media.

The Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed, in his submission at a public hearing on a bill to amend the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission Act, asked the lawmakers to include the regulation of all online and internet broadcasting entities in section two (C) of the bill, as per a Premium Times report.

“I want to add that internet broadcasting and all online media should be included in the bill,” Mr Mohammed said.

Section two of the NBC act gives the regulatory body powers to receive, process and consider applications for the establishment, ownership of radio and television stations.

If the House considers the recommendation of the information minister, online broadcasting entities including Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and other platforms will have to get approval from NBC to operate in Nigeria.

They will also be compelled to operate within the ambit of the Nigerian government, effectively subjecting them to the political experiences of the authorities.

The federal government’s request comes barely two weeks after the Mr Buhari regime banned Twitter operations across Nigeria, forcing telecoms networks to restrict access to the microblogging platform.

Information minister Lai Mohammed said the indefinite suspension of Twitter in Nigeria was on the grounds that the platform was being used to spread false information and “activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence.”

The ban came a day after Twitter deleted tweets and videos posted on social media by Mr Buhari, which threatened genocide against the Igbo-dominated South-East.

The Mr Buhari regime subsequently ordered all broadcasting stations in Nigeria to suspend the use of the microblogging platform.

The government also said all social media companies and over the top broadcasters (OTT) must register with the country’s NBC.

Since the unpopular announcement, Nigerians from all walks of life have continued to condemn the action.

Diplomatic missions of Sweden, Canada, United States, Britain, as well as rights body Amnesty International have all criticised the move and called for its reversal.

Local and international rights body say the ban of Twitter is an attack on the freedom of expression of Nigerians.

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