Innovation Support Network, Nigeria’s largest community of technology, innovation and entrepreneurship support Hubs has expressed its shock and disappointment at the escalation of events that have led to the Twitter ban in Nigeria.
According to a press release made available by ISN, the announcement puts Nigeria on an exclusive list of countries that have banned Twitter. Interestingly, these countries appear to also have poor rankings on the UN’s Human Rights Index and Freedom House Global Freedom Scores including Iran (16 points out of 100), China (9 points out of 100), North Korea (3 points out of 100), and Turkmenistan (2 points out of 100).
“This could be because freedoms of speech, expression and association are fundamental features of our Human Rights as stated in the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human rights; and a respect for Human Rights is usually a hallmark of democracy”, it says.
Recall that the Federal Government of Nigeria, on Friday, suspended the operations of popular social media platform, Twitter in the country. According to the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the ban was due to “the persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence.”
This ban comes just days after Twitter deleted the president’s tweet for violating its policies.
The ISN acknowledged that there is a need to ensure the quality of information being shared on Twitter, as well as other social media platforms, and called on the Federal Government of Nigeria, like the governments of several other countries, to develop think tanks and special purpose vehicles to co-create mitigants for fake news and inciting comments.
It noted in its statement that the outright ban of Twitter is not the solution and has set a negative precedent for the infringement of the average Nigerian’s freedom of speech, including our access to information and technology – a critical part of our daily business, professional and social lives.
“As a country with a high youth unemployment rate that is focused on unlocking non-oil alternative revenue sources, it should also be noted that while Twitter is a business channel for perhaps millions of Nigerians, the larger implication of the Twitter ban on the economy is not limited to these users but also includes several other macroeconomic implications including negative tonality which would discourage much-needed development and Foreign Direct Investments into our economy”, it concludes.
The association indicated its willingness to support the Federal Government in seeking globally acceptable systems and processes such as reviewing community usage terms and leveraging fact-checkers to manage the quality and authenticity of social media content.
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