Last week, the federal government, as part of the ministry of information’s review of the National Broadcasting Code, raised the fine for hate speech from N500,000 to N5 million.
In the face of a public backlash, the information minister, Lai Mohammed, said on TV that the new fine was imposed to deter “desperate people” from airing broadcast content containing hate speech.
“What motivated the amendment was that when the fine was N500,000, we saw the provision being violated at will because the amount was very easy to pay,” he said.
Citing the Rwandan genocide and wars in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Cambodia as consequences of unchecked hate speeches, Mr Mohammed said the fine increment was justified.
He added that the sanction was still “lenient” when compared to the action of the government of Chad, which slowed “down the speed of its internet service to slow down the growth of hate speech.”
“Iceland has a provision in its penal code against hate speech and the punishment is up to five years in jail,” Mr Mohammed said.
“The sanction in Norway is up to two years imprisonment while South Africa separated hate speech from the protection their citizens can get from the constitution,” he added.
Mr Mohammed said that the amendments were necessitated by a presidential directive in the wake of the 2019 general elections to vest more regulatory powers in the NBC, Nigeria’s broadcasting commission. Premium times