An Assessment Of The Hate Speech Bill And The Regulation Of Social Media Contents (A Case Study Of Public Perception)

Project and Seminar Material for Mass Communication

An Assessment Of The Hate Speech Bill And The Regulation Of Social Media Contents (A Case Study Of Public Perception)

Chapter One


1.1 Background Of The Study

In recent years, there has been an uptick in demands for more regulation of social media platforms all across the world, especially in Europe. In this regard, how social media firms deal with “hate speech” on their platforms is a particularly hot topic among governments, policymakers, regulatory agencies, self-regulatory organizations, the media, civil society, and the general public. Hate speech is a subjective term with no generally agreed-upon definition in international human rights law. According to Naseh (2016), hate speech is defined as “any communication (verbal, written, symbolic) that insults a racial, ethnic, or political group, whether by suggesting that they are inferior in some manner or by communicating that they are despised or not welcome for any other reason.” In addition to presenting a physical danger, hate speech, according to Naseh, risks violent reprisal. Simply stated, hate speeches, according to Kayambazinthu & Moyo (2002), are rhetorical warfare waged against others. Indeed, the issue of hate speech has expanded across Africa due to a lack of legislation. Hate speech has spread throughout the continent. Hate speech has become such an important component of today’s election campaigns that it has been blamed for a number of African election-related crises. Hate speech has obviously eaten into the bone marrow of Nigerians, and it continues unabated. Anger has risen among the ethnic groups that make up Nigeria as the use of hate speech has gone unchecked. The major ethnic groups targeted by this hatred are the Hausaa, Igbos, and Yorubas. The Igbos and Yorubas call the Hausas “abokis,” which means “friend” but also derogatorily “moron.” Igbos are seen as money lovers by Hausas and Yorubas, whereas Yorubas are seen as cowards and saboteurs by Hausas and Yorubas. According to a recent research by the Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD), 70% of those propagating hate speech on Nigerian social media use their actual identities, making them vulnerable to being traced down and prosecuted. The English language is once again the main language used to spread hate speeches on Nigerian social media, with visible material in Hausa. Men account for more than 65 percent of hate speech users, and a greater percentage of posts include coded language that has previously been used to encourage violence or harm. Many people claim to be able to recognize it when they encounter it, yet its features are often obscure or conflicting. ARTICLE 19 has published a number of policy papers that explain the complexity of international law in this area. 1 Our research has shown that determining whether a particular message can be classified as “unlawful hate speech” and therefore should or might be legally banned is a difficult job. It necessitates a thorough examination of all the circumstances surrounding a specific instance of “hate speech,” which necessitates a deeper understanding of the local and regional context in all of its political, economic, social, and cultural dimensions, as well as a thorough understanding of international human rights standards and case law. The challenge in properly defining the function played by these businesses in the contemporary media environment is hampered the continuing legal and regulatory disputes over content regulation by social media corporations on their platforms. While it is undeniable that digital behemoths have the ability to influence public discussions online,2 Identifying their real effect on their audiences, as well as choosing an acceptable reaction to their perceived authority, is still a difficult task. Existing institutions, as well as legal and regulatory frameworks, were designed to deal with conventional media players, and their applicability to new actors is, at best, shaky. Simultaneously, in a number of nations, the limited liability system that has enabled Internet intermediaries (including social media platforms) to serve as effective facilitators of freedom of speech has come under growing scrutiny. Nonetheless, these discussions are critical in democratic society. It is also critical to verify that any measures governing material on social media platforms, particularly the restriction of “hate speech,” are completely compliant with international freedom of expression norms. Recent efforts in this area, both in the EU and in many countries outside of it, often mention self-regulation as an acceptable way to dealing with content moderation on social media. However, as described in this short, the suggested methods may not always provide enough assurances for self-independence regulation’s and efficiency, as well as the preservation of freedom of speech. The proposed National Commission for the Prohibition of Hate Speech bill, as well as the Protection from Internet Falsehood and Manipulation and Other Related Offenses bill, give authorities broad powers to shut down the internet and restrict social media access, and make criticizing the government punishable by up to three years in prison. “One of the last areas where Nigerians may openly express themselves is on social media. Harassment of journalists and bloggers, as well as the passage of the Cyber Crimes Act, have already reduced civic space and created a fearful atmosphere.

1.2 Statement Of The Problem

Hate speech has become a major issue throughout Africa, especially in Nigeria. Hate speech has penetrated every part of Africa due to a lack of limits. As a result of hate speech from one candidate to another, which has become an important element of today’s electioneering campaign, many election-related disputes have occurred. In many parts of Nigeria, there are various types of conflicts, and hate words pervade the atmosphere. However, the crackdown on those who use hate speech against others has been going on for a while, but it hasn’t been particularly effective in terms of convicting hate speech perpetrators. The development of social media into essential instruments for a variety of recreational, political, journalistic, intellectual, and commercial activities has sparked continuing debates concerning the social and political damages caused by hate speech spread through social media. However, there has been a backlash to the development of the hate speech law and the monitoring of social media material, as some individuals support it while others believe it would restrict citizens’ freedom of expression.

1.3 Objective Of The Study

The primary objective of the study is as follows

  1. To examine the reason why hate speech bill has been created
  2. To find out if the social media content is regulated
  3. To find out the public perception towards the hate speech bill and the regulation of social media contents

1.4 Research Questions

The following research questions have prepared for the study

  1. What are the reasons why hate speech bill has been created?
  2. Are social media contents regulated?
  3. What are the public perception towards the hate speech bill and the regulation of social media contents?

1.5 Significance Of The Study

The significance of this study cannot be underestimated as:

  1. This study will examine An Assessment Of The Hate Speech Bill And The Regulation Of Social Media Contents (A Case Study Of Public Perception)
  2. The findings of this research work will undoubtedly provide the much needed information to government organizations, career women, companies and academia.

1.6 Scope Of The Study

This study will examine The Hate Speech Bill And The Regulation Of Social Media Contents A Case Study Of Public Perception. This study will also investigate to find out whether social media contents are been regulated. This study will further look into the perception of the public towards the hate speech bill and its usage for the regulation of social media contents. This study will be delimited to social media users in Delta state.

1.7 Limitation Of The Study

This study was constrained by a number of factors which are as follows:

Just like any other research, ranging from unavailability of needed accurate materials on the topic under study, inability to get data

Financial constraint, was faced by the researcher ,in getting relevant materials and in printing and collation of questionnaires

Time factor: time factor pose another constraint since having to shuttle between writing of the research and also engaging in other academic work making it uneasy for the researcher

1.8 Definition Of Terms

Hate Speech Bill:

A law to prosecute abusive or threatening speech or writing that expresses prejudice against a particular group

Social Media:

Websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking.

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