A former Governor of Ogun State, Olusegun Osoba has slammed Senators over the controversial Social Media and Hate Speech Bills, which according to him, were targeted at Nigerians most especially media practitioners.
Osoba submitted that the media suffered and toiled to liberate Nigeria from the colonial rule, and equally battled the military regime to entrench democracy in the country.
He on Monday in Abeokuta, Ogun State, at an event, organised by the League of Veteran Journalists, to mark 160 years of Journalism in Nigeria.
The veteran journalist who taunted the Senators, asked if the lawmakers or their forefathers did participate in the struggle for independence and democracy in Nigeria.
“We (media practitioners) don’t deserve this treatment from Senators who are now enjoying the benefit of the war that we waged against the military to entrench democracy in Nigeria,” Osoba expressed.
He said, “We will all be the victims of the bill if we allow it to scale through. We (media practitioners) fought the military to standstill. You recall many of our people lost their lives, those who are propagating a bill should remember. Where were they when NADECO, the Media stood up to fight Abacha? Were they born? Were their forefathers fought in those days when Herbert Macaulay and co, were fighting for liberation of the colonial system to independence and then we took it up under the military?
“We all suffered under Abacha. The Guardian was burnt. Punch was closed down. Those who were running TELL Magazine had to run out of the country into exile. I can go on with the examples of deprivation we suffered.”
The former Governor, however, said there are mechanism to checkmate “bad journalism” if any Nigerian finds a report to have damaged his reputation.
Osoba said he severally had challenged series of false reports about his personality in court and won.
Speaking on the theme, “Re-inventing the practice of Journalism in Nigeria with emphasis on the influence of the Social Media”, called on the National Assembly to include electronic voting as part of the Electoral Act amendment.
Earlier in his address, Governor Dapo Abiodun disagreed with death penalty as punishment in the proposed Hate Speech bill.
Rather the Governor said that the proposed social media law before the National Assembly should not be seen as targeting or gagging the critical media or curtail free speech.
According to him, the law should be seen as a way to hold citizen journalists to account and make them responsible for their reports.
“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 course, the issue of death penalty is not called for,” he said.