Social Media Bill: House of Reps Disgraces the Senate, says “we cannot close space for free speech”

Speaker, House of Reps Yakubu Dogara

Despite having passed the second reading, the House of Representatives Committee on Media and Publicity have said that they do not agree with the Senate on the Social Media Bill proposed by the Deputy Senate Leader, Bala Ibn Na’Allah, saying the legislature would like to ensure that there is free speech.

Worthy of note is the fact that Abdulrazak Namdas, the chairman of the committee agreed that it was the power of social media that brought them to power.

Abdulrazak who spoke with the State House correspondents after a dinner hosted by President Muhammadu Buhari for the members of the House of Representatives at the State House Banquet Hall on Wednesday said that lower chamber is not in support of the bill.

 “As chairman House Committee on Media, I must say that we cannot close space for free speech.
“We would like to ensure that there is free speech. And the only thing we try to enjoin is that journalists, who are trained, who know the ethics of journalism, should also join the social media activity so that we can differentiate between the grains and the chaff.

“I think that is most essential, but we should not leave it for just those who think they can just post anything.

“Ideally, I think it is very important that we allow free speech. With time, we will get to the level that we can regulate.

“For now I think Nigerians will rely on them.

“We came on the platter of change and it was this social media that brought us to power and we are making effective changes on that; I think we should live with that,” he said.

However, many campaigns has been sparked off against the social media bill by Nigerians across the world, saying that it is antidemocratic and an indirect way of bringing back the infamous Decree 4 of General Muhammadu Buhari during the military era. Some coalition groups have called for the recall of the Deputy Senate Leader, Bala Ibn Na’Allah that proposed the antidemocratic bill that favour only politicians without any corresponding impact on the masses.

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