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Nigeria’s Amended Cybercrimes Act Still Endangers Journalists

Since its enactment in 2015, Nigeria’s Cybercrimes Act has been one of the West African country’s authorities’ most effective tools for censorship and harassment of journalists. From when it was signed into law till now, the act has been used to prosecute at least 25 journalists. Fortunately, years of pressure by media and human rights groups yielded fruit last November when Nigeria’s Senate proposed amendments to the Act. Following consultations with press and civil society groups, the amendment scaled through the legislature and President Bola Tinubu signed it into law in February. Nevertheless, stakeholders are still worried it doesn’t do enough to protect journalists. Civil rights groups are especially concerned about Section 24 of the law, which defines cyberstalking. While the section’s wording has been revised, it is still not specific enough, thereby retaining the possibility of abuse by bad players. Critics also point out that Section 38 of the Act might enable surveillance abuse as it doesn’t explicitly require that law enforcement officers obtain a court warrant before requesting for traffic data and subscriber information of from telecommunication companies.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA