Online Publishers Visit Saraki, As Saraki Assures Social Media Bill Will Not Be Passed

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The president of the Senate,
Bukola Saraki, on Friday assured that the senate would not censor the media.
This is contained in a statement by his Media Assistant, Bamikole Omishore,
made available to the newsmen in Abuja.
The statement said that Mr. Saraki
gave the assurance when members of the Online Publishers Association of Nigeria
(OPAN) led by its president, Olufemi Awoyemi, visited him.
It said the group’s visit was in
connection with the widely criticized ‘’Frivolous Petitions Prohibition Bill
2015’’ popularly tagged ‘’Anti-Social Media Bill’’.

Mr. Saraki told the group that he
would not support any form of censorship of the media, saying that the 8th
Senate remained committed to the principles of fair, responsible and open
engagement.
“The Senate has no intention to
pass any legislation to control or gag the press,” the statement quoted him as
saying.
He, however, charged the group to
do its part to ensure that international best practices were adopted, while
also abiding by the ethics of journalism.
Earlier, Mr. Owoyemi, according to
the statement, said that a section of the Bill aimed at criminalizing false
statements and use of unsupported petitions on social media.
The group assured the president of
the senate that the association comprised credible publishers of online
platforms and newspapers with online presence.
“In OPAN’s assessment, the
legislature remains critical to how Nigeria quickly harnesses the potentials of
online technology and use of social media as a critical component of citizen
engagement.
“To achieve this, OPAN Nigeria
sees a link between constitutionally provided freedom of expression and
responsible conduct and engagement by users and publishers.
“We aim to ensure responsible
conduct across digital platforms which in some cases were as simple as
recognizing the variants in existing laws around newspaper, radio, television
and digital publishing and broadcast,’’ Mr. Owoyemi said.
(NAN)

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