Proposed Nigerian Social Media Bill Draws Widespread Opposition

Country: Nigeria
March 18, 2020

The Nigerian NGO Spaces for Change joined 86 other civil society organizations in protest of a proposed online censorship bill in Nigeria’s National Assembly, saying it would undermine the personal freedoms of Nigerians. Together they formed The Action Group on Free Civic Space to organize opposition to the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act 2019, also known as the “Anti-Social Media Bill,” and submitted a memorandum against it to the Senate.

Nigeria’s National Assembly held its first hearing on this bill on March 9, where more than 20 civil society groups expressed their grave concerns. Spaces for Change’s coordinator, Victoria Ohaeri, called for Nigerians to “discard the bill for its obnoxious nature in stifling freedoms and rights of individuals and organizations.” On March 17, the country’s lower chamber (the House of Representatives) rejected a similarly restrictive bill, the Civil Society Regulatory Commission Bill, after widespread criticism of it, so it’s reasonable to hope that a similar push against the Anti-Social Media bill can also succeed, if enough people take part.

To read Spaces for Change’s current update of this bill’s status, click here.

To follow this issue on social media and join efforts against it, follow the hashtag #DropSocialMediaBill.