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Flattening the Hate Speech Curve in the Digital Age: An Appraisal of Regulatory Frameworks in Nigeria

Authors:

Mufutau Oluwakemi Oriola ,

Tai Solarin University of Education, Ijagun, Ogun State, NG
About Mufutau
Department of Creative Arts
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Olusegun Ojomo

Babcock University, Ilishan Remo, Ogun State, NG
About Olusegun
Department of Mass Communication
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Abstract

The internet and its emerging technologies have expanded global communication landscape to the extent that citizens have unbridled access to social media, just as the mainstream media integrate them into their operations. Despite the productive and interactive potentials of social media, there has been a rise in the cases of hate expression as one of the pitfalls of the digital revolution. Nigeria has had her share of the menace of hate expressions among its citizens, prompting legal and regulatory measures to check the menace. This paper discusses the recent efforts of the Nigerian government in the areas of legislation and regulation in checking hate speech. It critically examines the extant Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention, etc.) Act of 2015; the Independent National Commission for the Prohibition of Hate Speeches Bill introduced in the Nigerian Senate in November 2019; and the Reviewed Broadcasting Code as recent regulatory measures. It observes that while the Cybercrimes Act partly addresses hate speech in its provisions against racist and xenophobic contents on computer systems and networks, the proposed hate speech bill is a duplication which wrongly includes abusive and insulting words in its determination of hate speech. The Reviewed Broadcasting Code, which places a penalty of N5million on any erring broadcast station derives no legitimacy in extant laws. The paper recommends a holistic legislation derived from the Constitution, strengthening of the judicial system, socially responsible media practice and citizens’ ethical revolution to check hate speech.
How to Cite: Oriola, M.O. and Ojomo, O., 2022. Flattening the Hate Speech Curve in the Digital Age: An Appraisal of Regulatory Frameworks in Nigeria. OUSL Journal, 17(1), pp.97–118. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/ouslj.v17i1.7515
Published on 09 Aug 2022.
Peer Reviewed

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