US describes Twitter suspension in Nigeria as worrisome, says media must remain vigilant.


As the twitter suspension in Nigeria entered the third month, the US consulate in Lagos has described the situation by the Nigerian government as deeply worrisome.

The remark was made by Claire Pierangelo, US consul-general, on Wednesday at a programme titled, “Conversation on Press Freedom, Freedom of Expression and Civic Space in Nigeria” held in Lagos.

According to Pierangelo, government’s intention to introduce registration requirements for social media platforms, banning or restricting social media with threats of prosecution, undermines the human rights and fundamental freedom of Nigerians.

“Nigerian government’s ongoing suspension of Twitter and stated intent to introduce registration requirements for other social media platforms is deeply worrisome,” she said.

“Banning or significantly restricting social media, including under threat of prosecution, undermines Nigerians’ human rights and fundamental freedoms. We are encouraged by the meetings between Twitter and government technical committee last week aimed at resolving the suspension.”

Speaking on the right to freedom of expression for the press, she said journalists must be vigilant as they are the mouthpiece of the people.

“In view of these recent developments, you — reporters, editors, media executives, and civil society representatives — must remain vigilant to protect the right to freedom of expression and press freedom,” she said.

”To fulfill its highest civic purpose, the press must be both independent and unbiased. Without independence, a media outlet functions as a public relations mouthpiece for the government and other powerful interests.

“In the same breath, history is full of cautionary tales showing that when governments try to limit citizens’ right to talk about certain topics, important conversations are pushed into the shadows allowing individuals to express their opinions — no matter how much the government and other citizens may disagree with them. Rigorous debate promotes transparency and social stability.”

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