The International Press Institute (IPI) has asked the federal government to reverse the suspension of Twitter’s operations in Nigeria and engage in meaningful dialogue with the social media outfit on issues of concern.
In the same vein, the Newspaper Proprietors’ Association of Nigeria (NPAN), says the suspension is wrong and an overreaction.
“The action would not win us friends as closure of public space limits public discourse and democratic advancement. It is a futile exercise in any case, as other platforms are more likely to suspect Nigeria’s intentions towards democratic tenets and act adversarially towards Nigeria,” said NPAN
According to IPI, “the action is detrimental to the free press in Nigeria which uses twitter as a major platform.”
The Institute urged Twitter and other social media platforms “to pay attention to contents they promote”, noting that “the Nigerian government has concerns on the use of social media to propagate hate speech and fake news”.
“Nigeria should not play into the hands of the enemies who are relentless is seeking to destroy and ostracise her. Banning Twitter is regressive and should be rescinded in favour of dialogue,” it said.
Following the deletion of the President’s controversial tweet by Twitter on grounds of noncompliance with the rules of the platform, the Information Minister, Lai Mohammed, on Friday announced the suspension of the platform which took effect almost immediately.
With Twitter suspended in Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration is now poised to regulate other social media platforms.
Already, mobile telecommunication operators have said they have complied with the directive of the government to ban subscribers from accessing Twitter.
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The federal government through the ministry of information said in a statement Friday that it “has also directed the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to immediately commence the process of licensing all OTT and social media operations in Nigeria.”
With Twitter out of the way, the proposed plan to “licence” social media operations and Over The Top (OTTs) (which refers to any streaming service that delivers content over the internet) has rattled Nigerians.
OTTs include YouTube, Zoom, Googlemeet, WhatsApp, Skype, Facebook, Telegram, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Signal among others.
If successful, it means the long sought social media regulation the government has mulled for years is underway.
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