FG budgets N336m to fight hate speech, others

The Federal Ministry of Information and Culture has budgeted N336 million to campaign against hate speech and fake news .

This is contained in the 2021 budget proposal presented to the National Assembly by the President , Major General Muhammadu Buhari ( retd .) , on Thursday .

It reads in part, “ERGP 9124023 Special enlightenment campaign on government policies and programmes ; testimonial series to gauge the impact of government policies on the citizenry, advocacy against fake news , hate speech , farmers -herder clashes , banditry , rape etc. ongoing – N 336 ,015 ,959 . ”

The Federal Government has in recent times put in place several strict measures to tackle hate speech and fake news amid criticisms from rights groups that it is a ruse to stifle free speech .

The National Broadcasting Commission had recently amended the Broadcast Code , hiking the fine for hate speech from N 500 ,000 to N 5 million , a move which has been challenged in court.

A bill that imposes the death penalty on “any person found guilty of any form of hate speech that results in the death of another person” is currently before the Senate .

Tagged “ National Commission for the Prohibition of Hate Speeches ”, the bill is sponsored by the Deputy Chief Whip of the Senate , Abdullahi Aliu Sabi ( APC , Niger State ) .

It states in part, “Any person who commits an offence under this section shall be liable to life imprisonment and where the act causes any loss of life , the person shall be punished with death by hanging .”

On offences like harassment on the basis of ethnicity, racial contempt , the bill proposes not less than a five -year jail term or a fine of not less than N 10 million or both .

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