Hate speech: Drop bill that recommends death sentence, IPC urges Senate

*Calls on DSS to release Tony Ezimakor

=By Funmi Falobi=

The International Press Centre (IPC) has called on the Senate to drop the proposed hate speech bill that seeks to recommend death sentence for purveyors of hate speech.

The bill which is being sponsored by Senate Spokesperson, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi proposes that anyone found guilty of any form of hate speech could face death by hanging upon conviction.

But the IPC Director, Mr. Lanre  Arogundade, in a signed statement  said that what the country needs today is engagement by multiple stakeholders to determine what actually constitutes hate speech and agree on effective measures for dealing with such,  stressing that“a draconian law that hallmarks dictatorship cannot be the solution to hate speech in a democratic society.”

He also said that such a bill if it becomes a law would definitely pose a major threat to freedom of expression, freedom of the press and safety of journalists.

‘Much as we do not welcome hate speech, we do not also welcome a law that would gag citizens and deny the public the right to know, ” he said.

Similarly, Arogundade also called for the release of Tony Ezimakor, Daily Independent’s Abuja Bureau Chief, who was arrested and detained by the Department of State Services, DSS headquarters in Abuja on Wednesday, February 28 after honouring an invitation from the security agency.

The IPC Director said in the alternative, the DSS should immediately charge Mr. Ezimakor to court if the agency is convinced that he has committed any offence known to the law of the country.


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