Chairman, Senate committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Godiya Akwashiki, has assured that the controversial social media Bill was not to gag online journalists.
Rather, he said the Bill was designed to “regulate the activities of social media, people that are interested in posting things and to make sure you don’t post things that will harm your neighbour. It is not targeted at New Media”.
A Bill for an Act to make provisions for the protection from internet falsehood and manipulations (Bill 2019), otherwise known as social media regulation Bill passed second reading at the Senate plenary Wednesday, amidst controversies.
The Bill was sponsored by Senator Mohammed Sani Musa (Niger East).
Addressing the National Assembly New Media Forum on Wednesday, the Senate spokesman said, “no cause for alarm”, as the Bill will only focus on those propagating falsehood through social media platforms.
When asked if the Bill had any relationship with the proposed regulations of social media by the federal government, Akwashiki said, the Bill was a private lawmaker’s Bill and not executive Bill sent by the Federal Executive Council.
He, however, urged the Online Journalists to make presentation for or against the Bill during the public hearing, “if it is targeted at the New Media”.
On the N1trn wasted National Assembly constituency projects credited to President Muhammadu Buhari, the Senate spokesman said, the President may have been quoted out of context.
According to him, the President was yet to write to the National Assembly over the subject matter.
“Quote me, the press can be funny sometimes. Maybe what we are reading is not the way Mr. President said it, and he has not written to National Assembly to say this or that. So, there is no cause for alarm or for anybody to disturb himself”, the Senate spokesman told Journalists.