Group advocates legal framework on hate speeches

Participants at a one- day forum organized by the Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD), Owerri have advocated a legal framework and enabling laws to handle the growing and disturbing issues of hate and dangerous speeches in the country.

Media practitioners were also urged not to give prominence on the pages of the newspapers and time on the electronic outfits to promoters of hate and dangerous speeches.

In a 15-point statement issued by the group, they expressed concern about the devastating effects of hate speeches in the country, regretting that the root cause of it emanated from alleged marginalization and lopsidedness in appointments and resource allocations.

They decried federal and state governments indifference in addressing the issues raised by agitators.

In their presentations, a Senior Programmes Officer (Curbing Hate -Speech Project of the CITAD, Isah Garba and the Research and Media Assistant of the group, Hamza Ibrahim, said the monitoring and evaluation of survey conducted in 2016, using contents on the pages of the newspapers revealed that 6,258 hate speeches were recorded.

The duo said hate-speeches were identified to be speeches made in both pictorial forms or words against a group and not just an individual.

Garba said breakdown of the figures showed that religious related issues recorded the highest with 2,603, representing 46 per cent.

The second are hate-speeches against ethnicity, which occured 2,449 times, representing 33 per cent.

Continuing, he said politics had 421; Biafra issues, 283; resource control, 338 and terror with related issues, more than 32 times.

On the mode of communication, they said English had 98 per cent, while pidgin had 0.4 per cent. They regretted that most hate-speakers were identified as educated personalities, having 22 per cent and 62 per cent of inflammatory and coded moderately inflammatory patterns respectively.

In hate-speeches conveyed through Facebook, Ibrahim said 59 per cent was recorded mostly use of false pictorial representations.