Should Nigerians Feel Confident With the “NITDA Code of Practice”? 
Business Finance

Should Nigerians Feel Confident With the “NITDA Code of Practice”? 

A crucial component of a democratic society, freedom of expression is a basic human right that is protected by both Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Section 39 of the Constitution (UDHR). The right to free speech is essential for inclusive involvement in society.

Additionally, technology enables citizens to gather and disseminate knowledge as well as criticize those in positions of power. This right includes the press, which offers a forum for many viewpoints to be heard. According to Paradigm Initiative (PIN), the principle of freedom of expression and human rights must be applied not just to traditional media but also to the Internet and other varieties of emerging media platforms, which will aid in development, democracy, and discourse. 

Boye Adegoke, who oversees the Paradigm Initiative’s digital rights programs in Africa, said in a recent press release by the PIN that they acknowledge that these rights are not absolute and that there are legal safeguards in place to protect those who might be at risk and prevent abuse of these rights.

However, there are governments and people in positions of authority all over the world that find several ways to hinder it. With its recent ruling on the Twitter ban, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Court emphasized the significance of this right. It held that access to Twitter, one of the social media platforms of choice for receiving, disseminating, and imparting information, is one such derivative right that is complementary to the enjoyment of the right to freedom of expression under the terms of Articles 9(1) and (2) of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (ICCPR). Consequently, it takes legal justification to violate such a right. Despite the court’s clearly stated view, the civic space, particularly online, has been declining for some time. The draft code of practice for interactive computer service platforms/internet intermediaries and conditions for operating in Nigeria (by the National Information Technology Development Agency) raises concerns: “We saw the passing of the Cybercrimes Act, the rejection of the digital rights and freedoms bill, the initiation of the hate speech and social media bills, and now the draft code of practice for these entities.”

 PIN’s request for action is addressed to all parties concerned, these concerns are as follows; The digital rights and freedom bill should be passed by the legislature in order to protect Nigerian citizens’ rights in the digital era and to foster trust. To develop an inclusive, democratic, and rights-respecting approach to content and platform rules, the Executive should engage in broader engagement. All interested parties must be treated equally during this conversation (Private sector, government, human rights organisation and digital rights organisations)Civil society and citizens must keep the government in check and collaborate equally for greater results. The media must continue to be tenacious in exposing abuses and amplifying the voices of people who use digital platforms on a daily basis to hold the government responsible. “Finally, to our fellow citizens who currently hold the position of national leadership. Let’s keep engaging in government and holding everyone accountable, he urged.

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