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Africa News of Thursday, 5 August 2021

Source: mynigeria.com

U.S worried by Buhari's ongoing Twitter ban, stifling of press freedom

President Muhammadu Buhari and U.S President Joe Biden President Muhammadu Buhari and U.S President Joe Biden

The U.S Embassy in Nigeria has said the continuous suspension of social media platform, Twitter, in Nigeria has become worrisome.

This comes after a heightened agenda by the Buhari-led administration to gag the media.

Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed has been making moves to curtail press freedom in Nigeria and President Buhari has refused to lift a ban placed on Twitter, two months after he placed a ban on the social media platform.

“Nigerian government’s ongoing suspension of Twitter and stated intent to introduce registration requirements for other social media platforms is deeply worrisome,” says US Consul General Claire Pierangelo.

“Banning or significantly restricting social media, including under threat of prosecution, undermines Nigerians’ human rights and fundamental freedoms.

"Reporters, editors, media executives, and civil society representatives — must remain vigilant to protect the right to freedom of expression and press freedom,” she adds.

She also charges "the press to be both independent and unbiased. Without independence, a media outlet functions as a public relations mouthpiece for the government and other powerful interests.

“In the same breath, history is full of cautionary tales showing that when governments try to limit citizens’ right to talk about certain topics, important conversations are pushed into the shadows allowing individuals to express their opinions — no matter how much the government and other citizens may disagree with them. Rigorous debate promotes transparency and social stability.”

The Nigerian economy has lost more than N150 billion since the Twitter ban, Pulse.ng said.

The ban has been widely condemned as a descent into dictatorship in Nigeria.