A Senior Advocate of Nigeria and human rights activist, Mr Femi Falana, said on Friday that Nigeria and some other African countries were currently tilting towards repression and criminalisation of the freedom of speech.
He added that till date, coup Generals and beneficiaries continue to recycle themselves in power, adding that even though they claim to be civilian presidents, Nigeria is still being ruled as if under a military dictatorship.
Falana, who was guest speaker at the fifth edition of the West Africa Media Excellence Conference and Awards, organised by the Media Foundation for West Africa, explained that society must fight to protect press freedom, expand its boundaries, ensure the well-being of the mass media and protect journalists.
The event, held in Accra, Ghana, had the theme, ‘Misinformation, Digital Media Regulation and Journalism in Africa.’
Falana added, “In the last 22 years of post-military rule, former military rulers, Olusegun Obasanjo and Muhammadu Buhari, have been presidents for 14 years, during which they have continued the military culture of oppression. Even though they claim to be civilian presidents, that country is ruled as if we are under a military dictatorship.”
He said in West Africa, government tries to regulate and censor the social media in the name of checking fake news but that in each of the countries, the government, which tells lies daily and spreads propaganda to deceive the people, turns round to accuse the media of spreading fake news. ,,
While commending the MFWA for its contribution to the campaign for decriminalisation of press freedom in the sub-region, Falana said freedom of expression must be decriminalised as done in Ghana and Liberia.