Opinion: Why Internet censorship is now necessary in Nigeria

Opinion: Why Internet censorship is now necessary in Nigeria

Opinion: Why Internet censorship is now necessary in Nigeria

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Internet censorship is the control or suppression of what can be accessed, published, or viewed on the Internet.

It may be carried out by governments or by private organizations at the behest of government, regulators, or on their own initiative.

Individuals and organizations may engage in self-censorship for moral, religious, or business reasons, to conform to societal norms, due to intimidation, or out of fear of legal or other consequences.

The extent of Internet censorship varies on a country-to-country basis. While most democratic countries have moderate Internet censorship, other countries go as far as to limit the access of information such as news and suppress discussion among citizens.

A user pictured on Facebook on his Laptop
A user pictured on Facebook on a laptop

[quote font=”georgia” font_size=”22″ font_style=”italic” align=”left” arrow=”yes”]Also, some people use “human rights” to contradict censorship of the Internet. They argue that individuals have rights to speech, choice and make own decision. True, we all have human right, but censorship is not a violation of human right. We still have our right to speech, choice and decisions, it should only be controlled. If the Internet is not censored, the country will gradually drown in what I call Internet anarchy. [/quote]In Nigeria, the purpose of censorship has varied, with some censors targeting material deemed to be indecent or obscene; heretical or blasphemous; or seditious or treasonous. Thus, ideas have been suppressed under the guise of protecting three basic social institutions: the family, the church, and the Nigerian governments.

On the whole, the Nigerian government has not done so much in censoring what is posted online. On the other hand the government is beginning to see the impact the Internet can play in the society with the growth of Internet users in the country.

According to a recent statistics from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), there were over 92 million Internet subscribers as at June 2016 in the country. This means that if these individual continue into piercing into cyberspace that is not adequately censored, they are exposed to some of the avoidable Internet dangers.

All other forms of mass media including television and radio have specific regulations and administrative controls in place, which means that the Internet should be no different. Regulations can lead to more order, which is what Internet censorship is looking to ultimately accomplish.

In addition, tracing criminal activity online will be very difficult without censorship. The Internet can be a place of crime, but tracing IP addresses and halting criminal activity may not be possible without the censoring of some information and sites altogether. Internet censorship makes it easier to stop online criminal activity and ensure that this type of crime does not take place. The fact that crime does exist online is seen as validation by many for online censorship to be in existence.

jamb-computer-base-exams
Nigerian students using computers in the school computer Lab

Children need protection. Their parents will not be always sitting by them to make sure they are safe while using the Internet. Of course not all children are bad, but even in some game websites there are some links which will lead you to some immoral and inappropriate websites. So, blocking these kinds of websites will make your children safe and let you relax. That means censoring adult or offensive sites that are readily accessible to children, among other much-needed censoring measures.

Also, some people have used the Internet as a medium for racism, sexism, pornography, and basically other unwholesome things. Also, people post things on the Internet that could possibly induce violent behavior.

Little wonder, Dr Eugene Juwah, former Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), advocated the control of content that appears on the Internet.

Juwah said that “there has to be some measure of control on content in a volatile political situation where messages, anonymous messages, are coming through internet and exacerbating this volatile situation; it cannot be allowed.”

A mobile phone user seen at the 2016 Social Media Week Lagos
A mobile phone user seen at the 2016 Social Media Week Lagos

According to him, regardless of who was in charge, it was necessary to have an authority in charge of the content of the Internet. “We must find a way to regulate it; whether it is left to the regulators to do or to government, or to the service providers to do – it has to be worked out, but there has to be control of content.”

Usually, that question is more on what has been done in the restriction of obscene or pornographic material online. This is probably the most pervasive type of censorship around the world, even though the behavior it seeks to limit is, almost by definition, private and personal in the most fundamental way.

One factor that limits this control is the fact the different nations across the world have different thresholds for what they consider pornographic materials. In some locales, even a bare male chest crosses the line, while in others, any depiction of pubic hair, whereas still others permit any activity between consenting adults.

Also, some people use “human rights” to contradict censorship of the Internet. They argue that individuals have rights to speech, choice and make own decision. True, we all have human right, but censorship is not a violation of human right. We still have our right to speech, choice and decisions, it should only be controlled. If the Internet is not censored, the country will gradually drown in what I call Internet anarchy.

The Chinese government censored the Internet because some terrorists are trying to split their land by using Internet to spread untrue information. I see this as a necessary action they took to save their nation. Nigeria needs this kind on action to save our nation from Internet anarchy, which in turn can lead to more dangerous consequences.

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Success Kafoi Journalist at Technology Times Media. Mobile: 08077671673 email: success.kafoi@technologytimes.ng

Comment(1)

  1. In a country with a long history of repressive governments, who have consistently closed down newspapers and journals, even going to the extent of assassination (as the case of Dele Giwa), it is indeed sad that a publication such as Technology Times is now floating a kite for internet censorship.

    Whoever put you up to it, I can only say that the only objective of internet censorship in Nigeria is to restrict the information that Nigerians have about the failings of the Nigerian government. We have seen Decree 4 (of 1984) before, is it not interesting that it comes up again under the same leadership.

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