By: Mayen Etim
KADUNA, North-West, Nigeria – Participants at the 3rd monthly Forum with Media on Peace Journalism organized by a Non-Governmental Organization, Interfaith Mediation Centre, Kaduna on Tuesday expressed dismay over the proposed Hate Speech Bill at the National Assembly.
The Forum maintained that such bill will violate the freedom of expression clause in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and does not promote the liberal democracy as practice in the country.
Participants also observed that since there are existing civil laws operational in the country to handle crimes like hate speech, the laws should be amended to suit the current realities in the fight against hate speech.
After extensive deliberations the forum which focus of discussion was on the proposed Hate Speech Bill, made some recommendations as follows; “That there is a need for Nigerians to go back to their cultural values which emphasized on respect and discipline, and as well dump alien cultures which does not add value to us as a people.
“Media should be professional and not take sides along religious or ethnic lines when discharging its social responsibilities.
“Those politicians should be blamed for exacerbating hate speech so as to get cheap media publicity.
“That Editors in particular should use their sense of editorial judgment towards de-escalating conflict reports and fake news by way of mellowing down especially on conflict reports in order not to harm the society.
“Journalists must abide by the ethics of the novel profession in order to promote peaceful coexistence in the country. They must first have the interest of Nigeria at heart in their reportage.
“Media practitioners should cross check their source of news as well as crosscheck their facts before going to the press.