Say no to the Protection from Internet Falsehood and Manipulation Bill, 2019 (SB 132)

Millions of Nigeria have spoken. And during the past few days, thousands of citizens have reached out to ask us to challenge the social media bill to keep the Internet free and open in Nigeria. While the calls, emails and letters are flooding, our commitment and advocacy efforts to preserve a free and open internet is unstoppable.

While we have been wary not to comment until we have seen the official copy of the draft bill out of our deep respect for the integrity of our regulatory and administrative process. We can now confirm that we have seen the official copy of the bill and given the high level of attention and the outpouring of the expression on the notice of proposed rule-making on open internet, we felt it was important to highlight the risks of this proposed bill. 

 Please help us share the social media content bellow. We’ve suggested sample text and graphics below.  Share the content with hashtag #SayNoToSocialMediaBill and ensure to submit a memo to the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters. We have created a template to help those with no previous experience of preparing memo for the Nigerian National Assembly. Please feel free to use this template. 

Tweets

Who decides what is a false statement? Only the government and its agents will decide what statement is false Disagreement with official figures? Criticism? Genuine mistakes will be punished.  #SayNoToSocialMediaBill #SayNoToSB132

What is transmission? If you share a joke to your followers, even without an intention to lie, the government can decide you have transmitted a lie and punish you under this bill. Parody accounts, satire, strong opinions and criticism will be punished under this bill. #SayNoToSocialMediaBill  #SayNoToSB132

 Punishments for expressions, government deem to be capable of diminishing public confidence in the discharge of his duties  range from 300,000.00 to 10,000,000.00, 3 years Imprisonment or both—Clause 3 Sub clause 1 (b) #SayNoToSocialMediaBill #SayNoToSB132 

 Providing services for the transmission of false statements of fact in Nigeria will punish social media influencers, online publishers, bloggers and fines will be 150,000 0r 2 years imprisonment or both.  #SayNoToSocialMediaBill #SayNoToSB132

Sub clause 3 gives government the latitude to use National Security, public safety, public trust, etc. as a basis to increase the punishment to up to 3 years imprisonment or 10 million naira fine. #SayNoToSocialMediaBill  #SayNoToSB132 

Sub Clause 6 says The Law enforcement department may direct the Nigerian Communications Commission to enforce an Access Blocking Order.  #SayNoToSocialMediaBill #SayNoToSB132 

Sub clause 4 specifies punishment for service providers that fail to comply. Up to 10 million daily for non-compliance and can go up to “5millon” (An apparent contradiction)  #SayNoToSocialMediaBill #SayNoToSB132. 

You can’t take your matter to court unless you have applied/appeal to the law enforcement department Breach of the right to a fair trial. How can the same agency be an enforcer and also a judge? Secondly, no law should preclude a person from seeking justice in the court of law.  #SayNoToSocialMediaBill #SayNoToSB132 

Law enforcement can force internet Service Providers to transmit statements or pieces of information or content to a targeted number of users.  #SayNoToSocialMediaBill #SayNoToSB132 

Clause 18: Law enforcement can force intermediaries to disable internet access to its users. This is called a disabling regulation. The section says that once a disabling regulation has been issued a notice must be placed in the gazette. However failure to do this does not invalidate the regulation.  #SayNoToSocialMediaBill #SayNoToSB132 

Clause 19: Law enforcement can force media houses and ISPS to transmit statements or pieces of information or content to all of its users. #SayNoToSocialMediaBill  #SayNoToSB132 

Clause 23: The Law enforcement department can direct NCC to inform Internet Access Service Provider to censor. Intermediaries that do not comply can be fined 1Million Naira for every day that they fail to comply up to 10 Million.  #SayNoToSocialMediaBill #SayNoToSB132 

Clause 27: Declared Online Location. Target your organisation and put you on a list. You must let your users know that you are on the list (loss of revenue, abrogation of freedom of speech).  #SayNoToSocialMediaBill #SayNoToSB132 

Clause 29: Order to internet Intermediary to disable access to DECLARED online location. Your website can be blocked.  #SayNoToSocialMediaBill #SayNoToSB132 

Section 31—Once your platform is listed as declared you are not to make profit from it (so you cannot receive money from advertising, clicks, etc.).  #SayNoToSocialMediaBill #SayNoToSB132 

Section 33—You cannot provide financial support to a declared website.  #SayNoToSocialMediaBill #SayNoToSB132

“The Law enforcement department” is defined in the Interpretation clause (35) as the “Nigerian Police force.” This means that the Nigerian Police will be responsible for administering Part 3–5 of the bill.  #SayNoToSocialMediaBill #SayNoToSB132 

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