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Hate speech fine increased to N5M because defaulters were paying easily – Lai Mohammed

Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information, says revealed the real reason for the hike in hate speech fine.

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Defaulters were initially required to pay N500,000 if found cupable of purveying hate speech. The policy described by critics as attempts by the government in power to silence dissenting voices was recently reviewed with the minister reportedly spearheading its assessment as against normal procedures.

After amending the National Broadcasting Code, defaulters will have to pay the new fine pegged at five million naira.

The minister while featuring at the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum, today, said the fine was increased because he found out that defaulters pay easily for their wrongdoing.

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“In practice what we found was that when the fine for hate speech was just half a million, people were reckless because they could easily pay the half a million fine,” Mr Mohammed said.

“As a matter of fact, our findings show that when people take advert to broadcast houses and the broadcast houses refused the advert on ground that if they air them they will be fined half a million Naira, the purveyor of hate speech will say, don’t worry, we will pay you N1 million extra.

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‘With the N5 million, we want to see whether they will add another N10 million to their advert rate.

“For us, it is very practical and for those who said it is primitive, we disagree with them because we want to safe Nigeria from purveyors of hate speech,” the minister said.

He described hate speech as any speech, broadcast or publication that denigrates a person, a group of people on the basis of their sex, religion, political belief or origin.

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“No country is going to sit down and fold its arms and be destroyed by fake news or hate speech, especially in Nigeria, where we are divided along ethnicity, religion and culture,” he added.

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