The Federal Ministry of Information and Culture has budgeted N336 million to campaign against hate speech and fake news.
This is contained in the 2021 budget proposal presented to the National Assembly by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Thursday.
It reads in part, “ERGP9124023 Special enlightenment campaign on government policies and programmes; testimonial series to gauge the impact of government policies on the citizenry, advocacy against fake news, hate speech, farmers-herder clashes, banditry, rape etc. ongoing- N336,015,959.”
The Federal Government has in recent times put in place several strict measures to tackle hate speech and fake news amid criticisms from rights groups that it is a ruse to stifle free speech.
The National Broadcasting Commission had recently amended the Broadcast Code, hiking the fine for hate speech from N500,000 to N5 million, a move which has been challenged in court.
A bill that imposes the death penalty on “any person found guilty of any form of hate speech that results in the death of another person” is currently before the Senate.