It’s another Wednesday of Words in Pen and we are bringing to you an excerpt titled “Freedom of expression and regulation of hate speech in the face of security challenges” from the first edition of “Get Inspired” of IAMBEST ONLINE MAGAZINE exclusively IAMBESTNETWORKS LTD. Read, enjoy and you can get the complete magazine via the link below. Enjoy;
“The prevalent incidence of freedom of expression in contemporary Nigeria and the assertion of the encroachment on the regulation of hate speech in the face of security challenges is the centrepiece of this research work. In this research work, we will thoroughly appraise what freedom of expression and hate speech entails, with due regards to statutory provisions and judicial provisions on freedom of expression and hate speech. In this research work, we shall site life instances where hate speech has threatened National peace and we shall lay proper emphasis on the need to strike a balance between hate speech and freedom of expression for a better Nigeria.
DEFINITION OF KEY TERMS
The term ‘hate’ on the other hand, refers to a feeling that invokes a dislike, anger or intense hostility towards somebody or something (Encarta Dictionaries 2009) it donates the extreme negativity feelings and the beliefs held about a group of individuals or a specific representatives of that group because of their race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation or a political party.
Hate Speech: can be understood as covering all forms of expression that spread, incite, promote or justify racial hatred, xenophobia, or any other forms of hatred based on intolerance, including intolerance expressed aggressive nationalist and ethnocentrism, discrimination and hostility against minorities.
Freedom of Speech: Freedom of speech is the right to communicate one’s opinions and ideas without fear of government retaliation or censorship. The term freedom of expression is sometimes used interchangeably, but includes any act of seeking, receiving and imparting information or ideas, regardless of the medium used.
Article 19 of the universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted in 1948, states that: Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
HATE SPEECH AND ITS IMPACT IN SOCIETY
In a heterogeneous and polarized country like Nigeria, hate speech threatens the nation-building process widening the social distance among Nigerians, cementing existing distrust and undermining national support. Hate speech can also negatively affect the economy.
The hate speech bill in Nigeria has prescribed death hanging for any person found guilty of any form of hate speech that results in the death of another person. The bill in the early stages of becoming law seeks the establishment of an independent commission to enforce hate speech law across the country. For offences such as harassment on grounds of ethnicity or race the billrecommends that the offenders be sentenced to “not less than a 5years jail term or a fine of not less than 10million naira (about $277,000), or both. What would qualify as hate speech is any forhatred and attacks a person or group on the basis of race religion, ethnic origin, sexual orientation disability or gender? Hate speech can also be qualified as a speech that attacks a person or a group on the basis of protected attributes such as race, religion, ethnic origin, national origin, sex, disability, sexual orientation or gender identity. The National Cohesion and Integration Bill of communication that expresses or popularly known as the Hate speech bill expressly states that
“A person who uses publishes, presents, produces, plays, provides, distributes and/or directs the performance of any material, written and/or visual, which is threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour commits an offence if such person intends thereto stir up ethnic… Article to be continued on the 2nd edition of Get Inspired (Hard Copy)
Isaac Tamapa Stephen
ESQ, AIArb UK.