Thursday, 3 December 2015

Senate vows to go ahead with proposed law to clampdown on "fraudulent journalism" on Social media


The Senate has vowed to make laws to tackle what it described as fraudulent journalism by some online media.

The resolution followed a motion by Senator Dino Melaye representing Kogi West who specifically accused New York based online medium, SaharaReporters of invading his privacy and discrediting the work of the Senate.


A visibly angry Melaye called on the Senate to write to the United States Government to investigate the status of the online medium to find out if it is duly accredited to operate as a news organization.

He also accused SaharaReporters of trashing the critical elements of fairness and objectivity in journalism and replacing same with "cash and carry journalism".

While also accusing SaharaReporters of deliberately destabilizing democratic governance in Nigeria through unfair and biased reporting, Melaye said the beauty of social media and the works of other "credible" online media are gradually being tainted by the antics of SaharaReporters.

Senate President Bukola Saraki therefore mandated the committees on ethics, privileges and public petitions, cyber crimes and ICT to investigate the issue and report back to the hallowed chamber in four weeks.

The Senate President also insisted that the red chamber will not be intimidated nor blackmailed by fraudulent elements in the social media who have resolved to distract it from its duty of making laws for the benefit of Nigerians.

It would be recalled that a Bill for an Act to prohibit frivolous petitions and other matters sponsored by deputy minority leader, Bala Ibn Na'Allah passed second reading on Tuesday.

The proposed Bill prescribed a two year jail term or a fine of two million Naira on any person that uses social media to send out false information.

The Bill also seeks a two year jail term and a fine of four million Naira on any person that makes any malicious allegation or publish any statement on a newspaper, radio or TV in order to discredit others.

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