President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has said that the National Assembly is open to suggestions from Nigerians on the best ways to tackle the menace of hate speech and fake news.
Lawan stated this on Monday in an address delivered to declare open a Town-hall meeting on the Hate Speech and Social Media bills organized by the Daar Communications in Abuja.
The Senate President said there is need to address the challenge of hate speech and fake news in the Nigerian society.
“We are here today because of some of these challenges, which is the challenge of hate speech and fake news. Added to this is the extent to which government should intervene. Important also is the need to come to an understanding on the best approach in finding a way forward.
“I need to reiterate that we are a democratic nation, where dialogue, conversation, disagreement and agreement are central to how we resolve issues. When exchanges are meaningful, we are sure to have a productive outcome. But when it is characterized with ceaseless conflict, I doubt if there can be progress.”
“This is the direction that the National Assembly has always followed, by asking citizens to be involved in the democratic process. Of course, democracy is about inclusion and participation.
“We do not expect these features only in the provision of the dividends of democracy, but also in the processes that lead to it,” Lawan said.
The Senate President noted that the liberalization of information on various social media platforms has been exploited severally and is subject to different dimensions of abuse.
He warned that if left unchecked without the introduction of laws and sanctions, it could have consequences on the nation.