A look at the meaning of the word ‘regulation’ might bring a small flutter to your heart, especially if you are Nigerian.
Let’s look at it together.
To set or adjust the amount, degree, or rate of (something): to bring (something) under the control of authority. : to make rules or laws that control (something)
If you are not in a self-administered news bubble, you would have by now heard that Nigeria is on the throes of curbing its social media usage, following the footsteps of countries like China and Russia.
This is coming on the back of the wave of protests that fizzled through the country, calling for an end to the inhuman treatment meted to citizens by police operatives, especially the notorious SARS unit.
A social media regulation bill has been lingering in the National Assembly and the house of representatives, that has tried countless times to put an end to the days of careless tweeting and unguarded Instagram posts, and maybe let one or two acts of impunity slip unnoticed.
A quick look at the countries that have successfully curbed social media usage would reveal that they run a shameless system that limits free expression.
So, for Nigeria to desire to play in that space puts the country comfortably in the race for dictator country of the century and a slap on our many years of putting structures in place to make us a more democratically-acceptable federation.
The question in a lot of minds is how is a social media restriction enacted and how does it affect us as young people?
Have you ever worked in an office where you can’t access a particular platform like torrent, YouTube or Facebook because it isn’t work appropriate? That’s the general idea of what a restriction entails. Telcos like MTN, Airtel and the rest of the alliance of telecommunication giants will be instructed to shutdown certain platforms from our airspace and the result is we instantly go digitally blind.
A very scary outcome.
You go to your browser, type in www.Instagram.com and the response you get is that the particular URL can’t be accessed in your country. The same for the app, you click it and it doesn’t open up the way it has done a thousand times in the past.
It’s a scary concept that will definitely change the dynamics of how business is done in Nigeria, because the livelihood of thousands of young people is tied to these social platforms.
To say that the sponsors of this outrageous bill have thoroughly thought it through, would be giving them too much hype. It’s simply a one way solution to an issue that they see as pressing and urgent.
It’s like deciding that the quickest way to deal with an acne breakout is to do a face transplant. It’s what emotional intelligence experts will call a one-way, over-the-top reaction.
It never really works.
This article was written by Henri ‘Yire; connect on Instagram with him here