August 4, 2021

Nigeria wants country’s radio and television stations to delete their Twitter accounts

Nigeria on Monday, June 7, asked all broadcast media to immediately suspend their Twitter account. “We advise all audiovisual companies to uninstall their Twitter account, and to stop using Twitter to search for information, or sources of information”, the director of the audiovisual regulator, the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Armstrong Idachaba, said in a statement released Monday morning. “It would be considered unpatriotic for any audiovisual media to continue to support Twitter”, he assured.

This press release follows the announcement on Friday from the Ministry of Information and Culture the suspension of Twitter For an undetermined time. This decision came after the deletion on Wednesday by the social network a message from President Muhammadu Buhari, who threatened to “Deal with a language they understand” those responsible for the current violence in south-eastern Nigeria, attributed by the authorities to Igbo separatists.

The tweet had been strongly criticized across the country and the social network had felt that Mr. Buhari was in violation of its rules of use in terms of hateful conduct.

Read also Nigeria suspends Twitter indefinitely

“The gagging of Twitter is above all a means of gagging the media”

The European Union (EU), Britain, the United States and Canada deplored the suspension of Twitter in a joint statement on Saturday and their ambassadors were received in a closed meeting Monday morning with the minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama. “It was absolutely important to take your comments very seriously and to meet, discuss and share our opinions, as usual in a friendly atmosphere”, the minister said ahead of the meeting.

“The gagging of Twitter is above all a means of gagging the media”, ensures for his part the web manager of a major television channel at Agence France-Presse (AFP). He adds : “We have to react, because if we don’t react to that, they can still go further. “

Nigerian media has a very strong social media presence, registering millions of Twitter followers. The social network is very popular in Nigeria, where the median age of the population is 18. More than 39 million of the estimated 200 million Nigerians have a Twitter account, according to a poll.

The platform is playing an important role in the public debate, with hashtags having received great resonance, like #bringbackourgirls (“bring back our girls”), which went viral during the kidnapping of 276 schoolgirls by the jihadist group Boko Haram in 2014, or #endsars (“put an end to SARS”, acronym for a police brigade accused of violence), which in 2020 gave its name to the vast movement against police brutality and against the power.

Read also How southern Nigeria is trying to regain control of its security

The World with AFP