Date: Friday 16th August, 2019.
The Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD) organized a two-day training for monitors of Hate Speech and Violence Against Women Online in Nigerian cyberspace. The monitors training is part of the project CITAD is implementing with support from National Democratic Institute (NDI) on addressing gender hate speech and violence against women online. twenty (23) young social media activists comprising male and female from different religious, tribal and regional backgrounds were trained on hate speech, monitoring and countering, hate speech identification, classification, dangers, etc as well as violence against women online. Gender hate speech and campaign against and violence against women online were thoroughly discussed.
Hate speech and violence against women online are gradually becoming threats especially to Nigeria’s diversity. Nigeria being a multi ethnic and religious country stands vulnerable in the midst of the two cyberspace monsters. While hate speech keeps polarizing ethnic and religious backgrounds of Nigerians, violence against women online discourages most women and girls from leveraging the social media for educational, entrepreneurial, research, political participation and expression, etc purposes, and in some cases violence against women online completely stop women from using social media. The foregoing and couple of other disturbing experiences hinder women and girls’ usage of social media platforms. It is on this basis that we wish to recommend the following:
- We recommend having a nationally agreed definition of hate speech to avoid ambiguity or misinterpretation or political abuse of the term.
- Government should be sensitive and concerned about gender hate speech and deploy punishable mechanisms against perpetrators of gender hate speech
- The federal government should have a functional agency with skilled personnel to embark on continuous sensitization of Nigerians on hate speech and violence against women online.
- Perpetrators of hate speech and violence against women should be punished and the punishment be publicized.
- Our educational curriculum should incorporate lessons on hate speech and violence against women right from primary schools.
- Religious and traditional leaders should collaborate with civil society organizations and sensitize Nigerians on gender-based violence and hate speech.
- Newspapers should monitor comments/posts/ on hate speech and gender-based violence on their websites/social media platforms to ensure hate speech and gender-based violence do not thrive.
- Media organizations should enlighten the public on the dangers of hate speech and gender-based violence.
- Social media users should be conscious of Nigeria’s diversity while making posts, commenting or reacting to content online.
- Nigerian entertainment industry should join the campaign against hate speech and gender-based violence through their content.
- Hamza Ibrahim – Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD)
- Nahimah Ajikanle Nurudeen – Lagos state.
- Jimoh Ogere Wosilat – Kogi state.
- Apreala Violet Wealth – Bayelsa state.
- Bulus Miracle Ayenajeyi – Abuja
- Joy Buba Ndirpaya – Bauchi state.
- Nwafor Chiamaka – Enugu state.
- Bashir Sharfadi – Kano state.