The rising tension on two bills the National Assembly is debating is already creating crack among the bigwig of the ruling APC.
Party leader and Ogun former Gov. Olusegun Osoba has been criticizing the Hate Speech Bill and the Social Media Bill two senators recently sponsored. The former governor didn’t spare the sponsors either.
Speaking on the theme, “Re-inventing the practice of Journalism in Nigeria with emphasis on the influence of the Social Media”, Osoba taunted the Senators, asking if the lawmakers or their forefathers did participate in the struggle for independence and democracy in Nigeria.
“We (media practitioners) don’t deserve this treatment from Senators who are now enjoying the benefit of the war that we waged against the military to entrench democracy in Nigeria,” Osoba said this during an event commemorating 160 years of journalism in Nigeria in Abeokuta on Monday.
But the state governor, Dapo Abiodun, in his own speech on same occasion, supported the bills.
A statement from Kunle Somorin, his chief press secretary, also quoted the governor as saying such law will hold citizen journalists accountable.
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.”
“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.
The Hate Speech Bill has gone through its second reading in the Senate, in spite of public outcries trailing it.