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Everyone will go to jail over hate speech bill, Pate cautions

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As KRPC trains reporters on ethics

Dean of Postgraduate School, Bayero University Kano (BUK), Prof. Umar Pate, has charged Nigerians not to remain aloof over the bills meant to gag the media otherwise everyone will go to prison. Pate, who expressed concern over the implications of the Social Media Regulation and Hate Speech Bills before the National Assembly, said there was no need to enact such laws, as existing ones could be strengthened.

Fielding questions from journalists at the seventh Kaduna Refining and Petrochemical Company (KRPC) Annual Workshop for media practitioners, he said those in government were not comfortable with the new media and there was nothing they could do about it than to come up with obnoxious bills. Pate, who delivered a paper on Journalism and Nigerian Journalists in the Era of New Media at the workshop with the theme, “Media Laws, Ethics and Challenges of Hate Speech in Nigeria,” said, “There is no way Lai Mohammed can stop it.”

He noted that it was unfortunate that instead of killing corrupt people, the reverse was the case. “Why are they not talking of killing people who are corrupt, but they are thinking about killing those who are talking about corruption,” he asked, adding, “So, it is an issue of class. It is an issue of the dynamics of power.”

Also in his paper titled, “Hate Speech and Media Law in the Context of Journalism Practice in Nigeria,” a former Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Kaduna Council, Garba Muhammad, also insisted that the bills were unnecessary under a democratic dispensation. Muhammad said there was the need for a review of existing laws, noting that current moves by the lawmakers was an attempt to muzzle the Nigerian media, critics and the opposition.He, however, commended the sponsor of the bill, Senator Sani Abdullahi for the quick response on the proposed death penalty for offenders in the bill.

Speaking, KRPC Executive Director, Services, Dr. Abdullahi Idris, admonished media practitioners to put what they learnt from the workshop into good practice, urging them to adhere to ethics of the profession, noting that they needed training to build on their capacities for optimal performance.

In his paper titled, “Ethical Conduct in the Media Coverage of Nigeria Oil and Gas Industry,” he said, “Journalists must adhere strictly to the ethics of the profession and report above interest. They must report objectively by being truthful, accurate and unbiased in the discharge of their duties.”


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