Military, PAMED and Social Media Monitoring In Nigeria
In recent time, reports on hate speeches in Nigeria have hit the print and electronic media as well as the social media. Tension comes to my mind here. This is rather unfortunate.
The military is not comfortable with the unfolding drama and Major-General John Enenche, director of defence information actually said so.
Enenche talked tough about the social media now under watch by the military for hate speeches, anti-government and anti-security information.
It is the business of the military to contribute in keeping our country as one indivisible entity. God Bless Nigeria.
Muhammadu Buhari, our beloved president returned from a medical vacation abroad to tell us that some of the discussions on the social media, while he was away crossed the line and left him distressed.
Freedom of expressions gives people the right to talk, talk and talk. But, what they say and how they say it could have negative or positive effects on the system. Words are powerful for good or bad, this you know.
Buhari’s comments, may have emboldened the military to set up a media center to sieve out and react to all comments online that are against the government, against it and against the security and tackle them accordingly.
But, Partnership for Media and Democracy, (PAMED), based in Lagos, Nigeria called on the federal government to restrain the military from keeping night vigils over the social media.
Why? It says it is a violation of the rights of Nigerians to freedom of expression and the privacy of their communications as guaranteed by our constitution and international human rights instruments to which Nigeria is a party.
Lanre Arogundade, Director, International Press Centre (IPC), Edetaen Ojo, Executive Director, Media Rights Agenda (MRA) and Akin Akingbulu, Executive Director, Institute for Media and Society (IMS), dropped this on the military.
The group is concerned that the moves will provide enormous opportunities for abuse of power and the violation of the fundamental rights and freedoms of Nigerians.
It talked about freedom of expression being protected by the universal declaration of human rights, the African charter on human and people’s rights, and the international covenant on civil and political rights.
Finally, PAMED demanded that the military should immediately withdraw the threat to monitor the social media as it is antithetical to democratic principles and values.
It should also dismantle the media centres it might have established for this unwelcome purpose.
This is two sides of the same coin. Is it the FG, military, PAMED or the social media that has crossed the line? Deep reflection, please.