One of the most influential media bodies in Nigeria, the Online Publishers Association of Nigeria (OPAN) has announced the date for its fourth Annual New Media Conference.
In a statement to the media on Monday, March 9, 2020, the president of the
organisation, Mr. Austyn Ogannah, revealed that the theme for this year’s event is “The Social Media and Hate Speech Bills: Implications for Press Freedom In Nigeria”.
“The strategic importance of this conference is apparent given the anxieties and political
tensions in the country,” Ogannah said. “These stress and strain on our nation have been heightened by the introduction of the two bills that have been tagged, ‘Social Media and Hate Speech bills’ at the National Assembly. These bills are dangerous and seriously infringes on the rights of citizens.
“The authors of these bills cite fake news as a trigger. Without a doubt, fake news and its impact on the politics and national security are of global concern. However, human rights defenders fear that laws that widen the net to criminalise free speech would
shrink the civic space, threaten individual freedoms, and violate the nation’s constitution.
“Recognising these valid concerns on all sides, OPAN decided to focus our intervention on bringing together the important stakeholders to address the threats and opportunities before us in this pivotal time in nation’s history,” he added.
The upcoming capacity building conference is designed for publishers, bloggers, online
journalists, and social media influencers with emphasis on legal frameworks and digital
technology in the New Media space. It will hold on April 21, 2020 at The Civic Centre in Victoria Island, Lagos.
“This year’s conference is building on the success of last year’s event where Nigeria’s Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo was guest speaker,” Daniel Elombah, General Secretary of OPAN said.
“Attendance at our conferences have always covered the sectors crucial to the development of the media space. Key figures in government, private sector, media, Law and human rights will be in attendance,” he added.