BY ANDY ASEMOTA, Katsina –
Katsina St ate governor, Aminuj Bello Masari, has warned the nation’s political class against promoting hate speech at the detriment of a section of any community, the state or the nation.
Masari, who made the call in Katsina at the weekend, while addressing Stakeholders’ Forum on Political Advertising organised by the Advertising Practitioners’ Council of Nigeria (APCON), frowned at cultural, ethnic and religious or sectional exploitations arising from selfish political interests and usually propelled by hate speech.
The governor, represented by the state commissioner for Information, Hamza Muhammad Brodo, urged all stakeholders “to learn how to tolerate, to learn how to show mutual respect, to learn how to accommodate or differ from others opinion (political or otherwise) without wielding or launching harmful vocal missiles, promulgating and promoting hate speech.”
According to him, “Political office aspirants, advertising agencies and the media must ensure that all political advertisements, just like every other advertisement, must be vetted and approved by the Advertising Standards Panel (ASP) to ensure that advertisements conforms with the prevailing laws of the federation as well as the code of ethics.”
On the theme of this forum, ‘Regulating Political Advertisement: Avoiding Hate Speech,’ Masari said the sensitisation of citizens on the bane of hate speech can never be overstressed, adding that Katsina State and every other state in Nigeria desire decent political atmosphere.
In a keynote address, the Registrar of APCON, Garba Bello Kankarofi, tasked the media, government agencies, non governmental organisations and civil society organisations in the country to raise the red flag at the slightest violation or threat of violation of the relevant provisions of the law concerning hate speech and other sections of the law which affect the existence of a decent society.
“The role of interest groups in ensuring compliance to rule of law with a view to eradicating hate speech in all its forms should not be diluted. The media – print, radio, television, online, outdoor and so on, should realise their potentials and pursue diligent gate keeping.
“Data from the period 2015 general election indicate that quite a number of media organisations were lackadaisical in the discharge of their professional and civic duties towards observing these rules not minding the disservice caused by the consequences of their actions. Records and experiences have shown that conforming media organisations make more profit because they are in high demand,” he said.
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