Information bill Social media 'the peoples' parliament"

The bill has been called “A Bill for an Act to Prohibit Frivolous Petitions and other Matters Connected therewith”.

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While the Nigerian Senate looks at censoring its people on social media, Ghanaians on Twitter say they would not stand for a similar law being introduced here.

The Nigerian bill, which has passed its second reading, could land a person in jail for two years if they make false allegations through any statement or petition in any form of media, from traditional newspapers to social media.

The text of the bill shows that any false allegation against another person, Government institution, or person in public office could be prohibited.

The bill has been called “A Bill for an Act to Prohibit Frivolous Petitions and other Matters Connected therewith”.

Read the bill text here

It states a person can opt to pay N4 million if they are convicted of false statements in the media, and N2 million if it is over text messages or social media networks.

The bill also proposes any petition has to be submitted with a sworn affidavit.

The bill’s sponsor Senator Ibn Na’Allah, said Nigeria’s past has portrayed it as a society where “frivolous” petitions against public officials meant the official's right to be presumed innocent was abused.

He said petitions sometimes lead to “a lot of innocent and most times honest civil servants being taken away from the public service only to be replaced by the dishonest ones, which invariably lead to the draining of the public service of civil servants with the desired integrity to move this country forward simply on grounds of principles.”

The Senator claimed the bill would counter this and “save the time for good governance and resources that go into investigating frivolous petitions”.

However, the bill has sparked protest and outrage on the streets of Nigeria and through social media networks.

Pulse.com.gh asked readers here if they thought a similar bill should be introduced in Ghana.

On Twitter users were horrified at the suggestion.

Here are some of the responses:

 

 

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