Paradigm Initiative says Nigeria’s Code of Practice for Internet is a tool for rights abuse

African digital rights group, Paradigm Initiative (PIN), has described the Code of Practice for Interactive Computer Service Platforms/Internet Intermediaries and Conditions for Operating in Nigeria as a tool for the abuse of constitutionally guaranteed rights of Nigerian citizens.

While expressing concerns over the Code, PIN says the draft released by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), should be critically reviewed by all stakeholders in Nigeria’s digital space.

To that effect, PIN has summoned an all-stakeholder Zoom meeting scheduled for June 21 to review and present a position to the government on the code.

What they are saying

The body in a notice to all stakeholders said: “The code of practice and its impending implementation goes to the essence of digital rights and freedom for all, and we are aware of the dangers inherent in the closing of digital civic space in Nigeria. This is why we have been working with others to push back on this trajectory in Africa to ensure human rights considerations are taken into account in the development and implementation of digital policies.

“The released draft code of practice is a potential tool for the abuse of constitutionally guaranteed rights of Nigerian citizens.”

“While we continue to monitor the advancement of the code, we are calling for a civil society stakeholder session to coordinate input and response to this draft regulation. All stakeholders need to speak with one voice in response to this development so that our voices are heard loud and clear. PIN shall be coordinating a response to the code of practice on Tuesday, June 21st, 2022 via zoom,” the body added.

What you should know

Part of the Code dictates that internet platforms including social media must:

  • Act expeditiously upon receiving a notice from a user, or an authorised government agency of the presence of an unlawful content on its Platform. A Platform must acknowledge the receipt of the complaint and take down the content within 24 hours.
  • Act expeditiously to remove, disable, or block access to non-consensual content that exposes a person’s private areas, full or partial nudity, sexual act, deepfake, or revenge porn, where such content is targeted to harass, disrepute, or intimidate an individual. A Platform must acknowledge the receipt of the complaint and take down the content within 24 hours.
  • Disclose the identity of the creator of information on its Platform when directed to do so by a Court order. Provided that an order of this nature shall apply for the purpose of preventing, detecting, investigating, or prosecuting an offence concerning the sovereignty and integrity of Nigeria, public order, security, diplomatic relationships, felony, incitement of an offence relating to any of the above or in relation to rape, child abuse, or sexually explicit material.
  • Where the first creator of the message in question is located outside Nigeria, the first creator of that information in Nigeria shall be deemed to be the first creator.
  • Exercise due diligence to ensure that no unlawful content is uploaded to their Platform. Where a Platform receives a notice from a user or any authorised government agency that an unlawful content has been uploaded, such Platform is required to take it down and ensure it stays down.

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