Nigeria: Editors kick against bill to stifle freedom of speech

Abuja, Nigeria (PANA) - The umbrella Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) has demanded the unconditionally that the country's Senate suspends all proceedings with respect to a proposed Bill, "FRIVOLOUS PETITIONS (PROHIBITIONS ETC) BILL, 2015."

In a statement issued here Sunday, the NGE said the broad objective of ''this curiously accelerated Bill'' is to outlaw the freedom of expression of all Nigerian citizens and freedom of speech of all media organizations operating in print, electronic and on-line platforms in Nigeria and beyond.

''Appallingly, the Bill has also included as its target very personal and private means of communication such as SMS or text messages and WhatsApp, among others.

''The freedom of speech and expression is guaranteed in section 22 and 39(1) of the 1999 Nigerian constitution respectively. Therefore, to enact any kind of law under any guise that will contradict these fundamental provisions is to deliberately seek to undermine the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,'' the Guild said.

It expressed concern that a group of persons elected by Nigerians to ensure that their rights, privileges and interests are protected, should gleefully misuse the mandate given to them to the detriment of the same people that elected them.

''As other concerned individuals and groups have pointed out, the Senate should note that there are already existing laws in our Constitution that can accommodate all the concerns, real or imagined, that the proposed Bill is expected to address. These laws include the Cyber Crime (Prohibition, Prevention, etc.) Act 2015, the Libel law etc.

''In view of this and the glaring danger posed by the proposed Bill, the NGE is strongly advising the Senate to drop all proceedings on the proposed Bill and turn its attention instead to critical areas in need of urgent intervention,'' the NGE said.
-0- PANA SEG 6Dec2015

06 december 2015 18:17:10

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