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Journalists against hate speech, seek stiff penalty

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Journalists against hate speech, seek stiff penalty
Journalists doing what they know best

By Azubuike Oke

Some practicing journalists in Port Harcourt have advocated stiff penalties against citizens who propagate speeches that threaten Nigeria’s unity.

A survey conducted by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the sideline of the arrival and resumption of duty by President Muhammadu Buhari, shows that many journalists were pissed by hate speeches.

Buhari had in his nationwide broadcast expressed worries that some citizens used the social media to disseminate information that questioned Nigeria’s collective existence.

He also noted that those in such habit had crossed the national red lines by daring to question Nigeria’s collective existence as a nation.

The Director of International Institute of Journalism, Port Harcourt centre, Dr Ibituru Pepple, told NAN that anti-unity comments on the social media is `unpatriotic an un-Nigerian’

“The social media is a place where anybody can post any rubbish, the government needs to ensure that people who use it to unnecessarily question national unity are punished.

“On the social media, ethics of journalism and communication are not observed in most cases, so what else do we expect?’’ he asked..

Also speaking, Rivers council chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Mr Omoni Ayo-Tamuno, said efforts should be made to ensure that online rascality became punishable by law.

“As it is, we cannot determine when a comment on the social media has crossed the red line, a framework has to be put in place to streamline all these,’’ he said.

In his view, another Port Harcourt-based journalist, Mr. James Awaji, stated that frontal attacks on national unity would continue unless people were made to show responsibility while making online comments.

“The way it is today, people hide under pseudonyms to make wicked and unpatriotic statements against the nation, something has to be done to ensure responsibility. (NAN)

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