The main thrust of this research is to empirically investigate the freedom of information, social media and twitter ban in Nigeria; an appraisal. In carrying out this study, the researcher adopted three objectives and a follow up questions. The set out objectives are to examine how freedom of information and social media usage guarantee human right practices in Nigeria; understand how twitter ban undermine freedom of information on social media usage in Nigeria; and investigate how the ban on twitter by Nigeria government affects journalistic practices and suppresses press freedom on information gathering and sharing. The study made use of survey research design that allowed the use of questionnaire to gather data from the respondents. Two sources of data were utilized in the study. The study which was on current issue with historical antecedents demanded primary and secondary sources of data.The primary sources of data for the study included personal interviews, direct observations and structured questionnaire sent to the respondent who were the direct primary providers of information for the study. The secondary sources of data were collected from newspapers, articles and journals, scholars works and other relevant internet sources. For analyzing the gathered data for this study, simple percentage and multiple regressions analysis were adopted. Based on the analysis of results, the study among others finds out these study findings shows that Nigeria’s Twitter Ban is a Repression on freedom of information. It was revealed that blocking access to Twitter in Nigeria is a flagrant violation of fundamental rights to freedom of information. Based on the findings, it was recommended that The study recommends that the legislative arm to respect the separation of powers entrenched in the Constitution and exercise its oversight powers to guarantee Nigerians their fundamental human rights to life, association, expression, assembly, and the freedom of the press
1.1. Background of the Study
Journalists have a responsibility to ensure the public’s access to knowledge. There are some who argue that journalists and other media practitioners have the right to investigate, dig, and pry for the purpose of obtaining material that can be used in the dissemination of news, opinion, and other information. It argues for an open and unrestricted environment for the gathering and reporting of information and viewpoints. When it comes to freedom of information and the expression of ideas, journalists have the same rights as everyone else in Nigeria. Individuals, including journalists, have a fundamental constitutional right to free speech.
Individuals and groups can better protect their rights if they have access to information. It’s a vital line of defense against misuse, poor management, and graft. Transparency and openness in decision making benefit the government while increasing citizen trust in government operations. Both as a journalistic idea and as a topic, freedom of information is a hot topic. Journalists, in particular, have a right to investigate, to dig, and to pry in order to gather information, news, and opinion and then publish it without fear of repercussion. News collecting and reporting should be unrestricted, according to this thesis, which advocates for an open media environment. When it comes to free speech, citizen journalists have the same rights as everyone else in Nigeria to express their views without interference. Individuals, including journalists, have a fundamental constitutional right to free speech Alig (2002). Individuals and groups alike can protect their rights by ensuring that information is freely available. It serves as a crucial line of defense against fraud, waste, and corruption. Having an open and transparent decision-making process benefits the government as a whole, while increasing citizen confidence in government action.
Social media platform like Twitter, is one of the best technological innovations that have made information sharing, marketing information and collaboration easier. It was acknowledged that Millions of people across Nigeria, especially youth, rely on social media to engage in discourse and to share and access information (Anyim, 2020). As a matter of fact, Nigeria’s constitution and international human rights law, as set out in the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression in Africa, protect the right to free expression and access to information and provide that any restriction to this right must be justifiable in a democratic society (Ewang, 2021) Article 19 of the United Nations Universal Declaration on Human Rights reads: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers,” (Adepetun, Aikulola, Nwokoro, Ugoeze and Akpa (2021)
Nigeria government’s action on twitter ban is a violation of international norms and standards, it violates the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights’ Resolution 362 on the Right to Freedom of Information and Expression on the Internet in Africa, adopted on November 4, 2016 at its 59th Ordinary Session; the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa, adopted by the Commission in November 2019, at its 65th Ordinary Session; and recent UN Human Rights Council resolutions touching on the matter.
1.2. Statement of the Problem
Amongst different varieties of governments or regimes, democratic government is the greatest upholder and respecter of human rights. As such, expression of human rights blossoms most in a democratic setting. In Nigeria, democratic practice and its consequent protection of human rights are not what they ought to be. The flagrant violation of human rights in democratic Nigeria by so many governmental agencies casts doubt on the facility of real democratic practice in Nigeria. Respect for human rights enriches democracy and makes it the best option among many others. The Nigerian democracy is stripped of its one of its beauties, (upholding human of rights), by the rulers and their cohorts.
Citizens are now restricted from having peaceful protests on the streets, at worst cases military men are alleged to start shooting at unarmed citizens if by any means the rulers of the nation feels threatened by the protesters, which in most cases such allegations are also denied by them. These government officials see themselves as above the law and have no regards for due process and rule of law. The immunity clause in the 1999 Nigerian constitution is an aberration of real democratic practice. People should be answerable for both their actions and inactions immediately and not after vacating offices. However, in Nigeria, this seems not to be the case as little or nothing is done about corruption and insecurity in the country.
1.3. Objective of the study
The aim of this research is to establish the correlation between freedom of information, social media and twitter ban in Nigeria.
The following are the specific objectives;
- To examine how freedom of information and social media usage guarantee human right practices in Nigeria
- To find out how twitter ban undermine freedom of information on social media usage in Nigeria
- To investigate how the ban on twitter by Nigeria government affects journalistic practices and suppresses press freedom on information gathering and sharing.
1.4 Research Questions
- To what extent do freedom of information and social media usage guarantee human right practices in Nigeria?
- To what extend do twitter ban undermined freedom of information on social media usage in Nigeria.
- How does the ban on twitter do by Nigeria government affects journalistic practices and suppress press freedom on information sharing?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
The following research hypotheses were formulated in null and alternate form to aid the completion of the study
H01: freedom of information and social media usage does not guarantee human right practices in Nigeria.
H02: the ban on twitter by Nigeria government does not affects journalistic practices and suppress press freedom on information sharing
1.6 Scope and Limitation of the study
This study appraises the freedom of information, social media, and Twitter ban in Nigeria. This study made use of a survey research design that permitted the use of a questionnaire to acquire data from the respondents, who are primarily bloggers, citizen journalists, and social media users, especially on Twitter. Respondents who have used a VPN to get around Twitter’s ban in Nigeria will be asked about their level of freedom of information in the survey. In the course of the study, there are some factors that limit the scope of the study:
Financial Constraints: The researcher was with limited funds and cannot visit all the areas to get responses from respondents but was able to get good information concerning the research topic.
Time Constraints: The researcher was involved in other departmental activities like seminars, attendance of lectures etc which limited the time for the research but the researcher was able to meet up with the time assigned for the completion of the research work.
1.7 Significance of the study
It is believed that at the completion of the study, the study will presents a wide range of insights into the law’s provisions, which helps to raise awareness about it and its possible futures.
Also, the study can be used as a supplement or as a stand-alone study on Nigerian libraries’ freedom of information. It will act as a guide for people who want to study the same thing in the future.
For the second time, this research has enormous implications for the fields of journalism and editing, as well as for society at large and the government in particular. As a result, journalists have more opportunities than ever before to push for national progress and the establishment of government transparency. Using this study, the government will be able to tap into the latent power of the law in order to provide better service to its inhabitants.
Aside from these reasons, this research is important because it provides a platform for government-press engagement that could aid national growth
1.8 OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF TERMS
Freedom of information
Freedom of information is freedom of a person or people to publish and consume information. Access to information is the ability for an individual to seek, receive and impart information effectively
Social media are interactive technologies and digital channels that facilitate the creation and sharing of information, ideas, interests, and other forms of expression through virtual communities and networks.
The government of Nigeria officially banned Twitter, which restricted it from operating in the country. The ban occurred after Twitter deleted tweets made by, and temporarily suspended.
Mass media refers to a diverse array of media technologies that reach a large audience via mass communication. The technologies through which this communication takes place include a variety of outlets.
Freedom of expression
Freedom of expression refers to the ability of an individual or group of individuals to express their beliefs, thoughts, ideas, and emotions about different issues free from government censorship
Freedom of speech
Freedom of speech is a principle that supports the freedom of an individual or a community to articulate their opinions and ideas without fear of retaliation, censorship, or legal sanction