Human Rights Commission tasks Media to monitor, counter hate speech

By Salihu Ali, Abuja

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The Nigerian Media has been tasked to tackle the growing rate of hate speech across several platforms by some politicians.

The Executive Secretary of National Human Rights Commission, Mr. Tony Ojukwu threw the challenge at a media briefing in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

Ojukwu who decried the alarming rate of hate speech in the country, stated that, “hate speech has become a tool deployed by politicians and their supporters to communicate divisive and demeaning statements using various platforms to build and sustain political support.”

He said the media has the constitutional obligation to promote peace in the society through balance and fair reportage as well as countering hate speeches.

Ojukwu said, “It shall be the obligation of media organization in line with their constitutional role to establish standards to promote balanced and ethical communications to promote political, social and cultural diversity and inclusion.

“The National Human Rights Commission has issued an advisory opinion to media organisations on policy and institutional mechanisms to monitor, identify and counter hate speeches being spread on all its platforms.”

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Ojukwu called on media organisations to “apply in-house editorial policies to edit and remove toxic, hateful and incitefull messages based on criteria that guarantee the human rights of everyone.”

He enjoyed media organizations to use their platforms to promote human rights, human dignity and equality of all persons through contents and programmes.

According to the Human Rights boss, the key dimension and character of hate speech is that it can be conveyed through any form of expression and disseminated offline or online.

“Hate speech is intricately related to human rights, either in its form or outcome.”

Ojukwu identified hate speech as a violation of human rights and a wicked attitude to societal harmony.

“To the recipient of hate speech, it is a violation of the rights to dignity of the human person and the freedom from discrimination based on religious belief, political, ethnic, gender, cultural or other affiliations, amongst many other human rights.”

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