ShareTweetEmail0shares Says FG Is Guilty  of Hate Speech By Shola Fadeyi Dr Olunifesi Suraj   A Senior  Lecturer at the Department of Mass Communications,... Hate Speech and Fake News Bills:  Ploy to Gag Nigerian Press- Dr Suraj
  • Says FG Is Guilty  of Hate Speech

By Shola Fadeyi


Dr Olunifesi Suraj


A Senior  Lecturer at the Department of Mass Communications, University of Lagos, Dr Olunifesi  Suraj, has described the introduction, into the political space, of the Hate Speech and  Fake News Bills, as a grand attempt by the Federal Government to gag the virile Nigerian Press.

Dr Suraj made this observation in his contributions, as a Lead   Panelist, at a discussant Forum on the ‘’Hate Speech and Fake News Bills- Implications for the Media Industry and the   society at large’’ organised  by the  African Foundation for Young Media Professionals and  African Centre for Media and Intercultural Dialogue   at Sweet Sensation Hall, Alagomeji  , Lagos , Tuesday.

The don condemned the punishment of death by hanging, which is an aspect of the Bills, adding that the Bills were irrelevant to the society at large, while there was a need for the Civil Society Group to embark on education of the citizenry , to combat the propaganda.

He said, ‘’ The best way to approach the Hate Speech Fake News Propaganda is through education. I totally condemn the death punishment attached to the Bills, which I consider as an attempt to gag the Press.

‘’People need to know what the Bills is all about, and the intention of those who are behind it, and how we can rise up to it.We have come to unravel the mystery behind this Bills, and we have seen that it is a waste of time and a waste of resources. It is like re-inventing the wheel, it is redundant and government itself is a victim of this hate speech’’, Dr Suraj disclosed.

Another panelist at the forum, Mr Martins Oloja  , Editorial Board Member  of the Guardian Newspapers, said that  Nigeria  operates a democratic system of government , while it is only an autocratic and theocratic  state , of which Nigeria is none ,that  criminalizes free speech.

Oloja  disclosed that  he  was  concerned about the speed ,with which the Senate is pushing the Bills, imploring  the stakeholders  not to keep quiet on it.

Mr Tunde  Abatan, Editor,New Dawn Online Newspaper, who is also one of the panelists said, without free speech ,all speeches become government speech, while there  is no such thing as government regulated free speech, urging  journalists to  be equipped with the knowledge and skills  to identify  and counteract hate speech.

Dr Olubunmi Ogidan, Station Manager, University of Lagos(UNILAG)   Radio, pointed out  that what Nigeria  needed  now is not that kind of Bills, saying if government will take time to do what is right , there would be less agitations in the country.

The Lead Panelists, Dr Suraj    is  also the National Coordinator (Nigerian Chapter), UNESCO University Network on Media and Information Literacy, and  one of the foremost Media & Information Literacy (MIL) Thought Leaders with special interest in Internet Governance, Media development & Freedom of Expression, Cyber Safety and Knowledge Management. Dr. Olunifesi

He  is a consultant to many multinational and international organizations and  holds a Master and Doctorate (PhD) Degrees in Information Science and a Postgraduate Diploma Degree in Mass Communication with several publications to his credit.