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Hate Speech Law: Nigeria joins 15 other countries with harsher penalties for offenders

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Nigeria has joined the ranks of 15 other countries with draconian laws to punish Hate Speech and for insulting the president.

The countries which operate such laws include Thailand, Turkey, Egypt, lran, Venezuela, North Korea, China, Lebanon, Azerbaijan and Cameroon, according to Persecondnews report.

In Turkey, offenders can get up to 40 months in prison for criticizing the government and for what their law calls while in Thailand, it is from three to 15 years in prison.

Iran has the harshest penalty — death — for those who insult the Prophet Mohammed, but the punishment for speaking ill of its political leaders is hardly a slap on the wrist.

In Nigeria, the law of the Federal Government has caught its first offender which has been fined the N5 million as stipulated in the law.

The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has fined a radio station, Nigeria Info, N5 million for a recent comment made by a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Dr Obadiah Mailaifa.
Persecondnews had reported that the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed had announced that offenders of the law would henceforth pay N5 million as against the former fine of N500, 000.
A  development which drew flak from the media, stakeholders and a cross-section of Nigerians as too punitive.

In a letter to broadcast stations, Mr Chibuike Ogwumike, the Zonal Director of NBC, Lagos, also warned against such offensive messages from guests who appear on radio programmes.

NBC also threatened to sanction broadcast stations over messages that tend to “insult” Nigerian leaders and elders.

 

In Thailand, a country with some of the world’s harshest lesè majesté laws, insulting the monarchy carries a sentence of three to 15 years in prison.

 

Also in Turkey, offenders can get up to 40 months in prison for criticizing the government and for what their law calls “Turkishness” while in Iran, a prominent journalist was recently sentenced to 16 months in prison for calling the President a megalomaniac.

Similarly, in Egypt, Venezuela, North Korea, and China violators of the law may get four years for insulting the president while Lebanon’s laws forbid the publication of material that “undermines the dignity of the president of the republic,” which is punishable by a minimum of one month and a maximum of two years in prison, and/or a fine between 50 million and 100 million Lebanese pounds ($33,200-$66,400).

 

Under Venezuelan law, it is a crime to offend “in writing, speech or by any other means” (interpretative dance?), the elected or acting president. If you are found guilty, you will get six to 30 months imprisonment if the offence is considered serious, and three to 15 months if it is considered minor. Commit the offence in public and you will see your sentence upped by one third.

Several African countries also have similar in place. For instance, In Cameroon, the law of sedition says if you insult President Paul Biya, one may get one to five years imprisonment and/or a fine of 20,000 to 20 million CFA francs ($42-$42,260).

 

In Thailand, it is 15 years jail term, Indonesia unto 5 years, Azerbaijan has provision for two years “corrective labor”.

Iran has the harshest penalty — death — for those who insult the Prophet Mohammed, but the punishment for speaking ill of its political leaders is hardly a slap on the wrist. More like several slaps on the back and with a whip of 74 lashes.

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