The Nigerian House of Representatives has taken a firm stand to strengthen the nation’s libel and slander legislation, aiming to safeguard the dignity of Nigerians against unfounded attacks on their identity. Speaker of the House, Tajudeen Abbas, committed this during a press conference in Abuja on Thursday, emphasizing that the proposed legislation would not impede free speech.
In his address, Abbas underscored the importance of ensuring a balanced legal framework that shields individuals and institutions from malicious attacks and permits constructive criticism.
He particularly emphasized the need for responsible critique, especially concerning the President and other high-ranking government officials, urging for impartiality and the absence of slander and defamation.
“The House’s objective is not to suppress free speech but to uphold the dignity of individuals and the integrity of public discourse,” Abbas asserted.
Highlighting the rampant proliferation of social media defamation campaigns, Abbas expressed concern over the deliberate dissemination of false and misleading information aimed at tarnishing the reputations of individuals and organizations. He noted that such campaigns often target political adversaries with the aim of undermining their credibility, integrity, and public trust.
Attributing recent attacks on the Chief of Staff to the President, Femi Gbajabiamila, to unchecked and unaccountable social media activities, Abbas lamented that such actions threaten national unity and democratic principles.
The House’s commitment to fortifying libel and slander laws underscores its dedication to fostering a responsible and ethical media environment while safeguarding the fundamental rights of citizens. As discussions progress, the House aims to strike a delicate balance between protecting individual reputations and upholding the principles of free expression and robust public discourse.
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