The Senate has just reintroduced a bill that will regulate the use of social media in Nigeria, which is planned to curb the spread of fake news on the internet.
The bill, ‘Protection from Internet Falsehood and Manipulations Bill, 2019’ sponsored by Mohammed Sani Musa, was one of the 11 bills read for the first time, Premium Times reports.
A similar anti-social media bill introduced by the previous eighth Senate, sparked outrage across the country, and was later withdrawn.
The old bill titled “A Bill for an Act to Prohibit Frivolous Petitions and other Matters Connected therewith” was sponsored by Bala Ibn Na’Allah and sought to compel critics to accompany their petitions with sworn court affidavit, or face six months imprisonment upon conviction.
Part of that bill said
“Any person who unlawfully uses, publishes or cause to be published, any petition, complaint not supported by a duly sworn affidavit, shall be deemed to have committed an offence and upon conviction, shall be liable to an imprisonment for six months without an option of fine.”
It also said
“Any person who acts, uses, or cause to be used any petition or complaints not accompanied by duly sworn affidavit shall be deemed to have committed an offence and upon conviction, shall be liable to an imprisonment for a term of two years or a fine of N200,000.00 or both.”
The bill passed the second reading before President Muhammadu Buhari distanced himself from it, saying he was committed to free speech.
The lawmakers were forced to withdraw the bill.
If the bill was passed into law, people found guilty of making false remarks on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other similar media, would have faced two years in jail or N2 million fine.