Hate Speech: Death Penalty Forbidden, Uncalled For- Governor Abiodun
By ABIODUN JIMOH, ABEOKUTA
The proposed death penalty sentence for originator of hate speech by National Assembly has received another setback as Ogun State governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun has described the bill as forbidden and uncalled for.
It could be recalled that since the bill passed through the Assembly, Nigerians have kicked against the capital punishment which they described outrageous and meant to cage the media across the country.
Governor Abiodun made this remark on day one of a public lecture organized to mark 160 years of journalism in Nigeria by the League of Veterans Journalists, Ogun and Oyo State chapters. The lecture themed: ‘Re- Inventing the practice of journalism in Nigeria with emphasis on the influence of the social media’ was held at Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL), Abeokuta.
This league is a body of highly respected personalities in journalism. In the early days of nationhood, members of this body of elderly practitioners had laboured painstakingly to give form and shape to the practice, thereby ensuring its rightful places as the Fourth Estate of the realm.
Present at the event were HRM Oba Adedotun Aremu Gbadebo, Okukenu III, Alake and Paramount Ruler of Egbaland; Rt. Hon. Olakunle Oluomo, Speaker, Ogun State House of Assembly; Former Governor of Ogun State, Chief Olusegun Osoba; Chairman, planning committee, HRH Oba Olufemi Adewunmi Ogunleye, Towulade of Akiale, and host of others.
Prince Abiodun hereby called on the Senate to review the death penalty, adding that the media practitioners remained an integral part in the Society.
“We have to find a win-win situation. The idea is not to gag the media in any form or manner, but to ensure that the media is held responsible for carrying out their responsibility; and of cause, the issue of death penalty is forbidden and uncalled for.”
Speaking further, he noted that many people have taken advantage of the social media, and wrote anything they like without any verification.
He said: “Things have gone from analogue and it has become digital. Today most people don’t really buy newspaper anymore, they prefer reading online, social media. People have taken advantage of that revolution, it has just allow some people to just write anything they like without verification.
“Criticism must always be welcomed because,and allow yourself to be criticized. When the information that is being disseminated is false and you are not able to stop in your real time, at times it would have damaged the reputation.
”I think a celebration like this is just for us to find time, sit down and begin to look to ensure that we manage the profession and not always the newsworthy, but be subjective.
”There is still time for sober reflection to ensure that we find a way and be more responsible on how we report news so that we can continue to that first realm of democracy that we are meant to be in term of journalism.”
However, he congratulated the entire profession for the celebration I think it’s time for us to reflect and look for a way to be more responsible, and continue to occupy that place which is the fourth realm.
Meanwhile, the highlight of the event was the investiture of Oba Adedotun as the grand patron of the league performed by the governor, while the speaker, Rt. Hon. Oluomo was decorated as fellow of the league as well.