Speaking yesterday at the second National Conference of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Kano, Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, announced that hate speech advocates will be treated in accordance with the 2011 terrorism Act.
According to Lai Mohammed, the Nigerian government directive from National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to sanction any broadcast station who allows its airwave to be used as medium for hate speech promotion, is still in place.
The Nigerian Minister of Information told Journalists at the meeting, that the government has continued to promote ethical standard and the core responsibility of the Journalism profession, but an attempt to circumvent its rightful position in the society could be inimical to the national cohesion.
“As gatekeeper, the media is expected in high hope to build responsible and lead vibrant societal development devoid of dangerous and hate speeches. The Federal Government will continue to promote and uphold ethical standard” he said.
The Minister further said that the media as a moulder of public view, has a huge responsibility of preserving national unity, public values and peaceful co-existence.
Cautioning members of being mindful of national interest while exercising their powers, NUJ President Abdulwaheed Odusile, said;
“As journalists and editors, we have the responsibility to keep out all manners of hate speeches and filter any traces inimical to our peaceful coexistence as a nation. ‘’
The declaration of hate speech as an act of terrorism, was first announced by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, while speaking at a security summit organised by the National Economic Council (NEC) at the Presidential Villa, Abuja in 2017.
He said the Terrorism Prevention Act 2011 as amended defines terrorism as an act deliberately done with malice which may seriously harm a country or is intended or can be reasonably regarded as having been done to seriously intimidate a population.
“Silence in such situations can only be seen as an endorsement.
“Hate speech and the promotion of the same through history from Nazi Germany and the extermination of Jews to the Rwandan genocide succeeded in achieving their barbarous ends by the silence of influential voices.
“The silence of leaders at this time -in our country will be a grave disservice to our country, its peace and its future” the vice President said.