US condemns FG over Twitter ban, says restricting social media has no place in democracy

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The United States Secretary of States, Antony Blinken, has condemned the suspension of  Twitter by the Nigerian government, saying, restricting the use of social media has no place in a democracy. Blinken’s spokesman, Ned Price, in a statement on Thursday, said, “The United States condemns the ongoing suspension of Twitter by the Nigerian government and subsequent threats to arrest and prosecute Nigerians who use Twitter.”
The statement said, “The United States is likewise concerned that the Nigerian National Broadcasting Commission ordered all television and radio broadcasters to cease using Twitter.”
The US maintained that, “Unduly restricting the ability of Nigerians to report, gather, and disseminate opinions and information has no place in a democracy.
“Freedom of expression and access to information both online and offline are foundational to prosperous and secure democratic societies.
“We support Nigeria as it works towards unity, peace, and prosperity.
“As its partner, we call on the government to respect its citizens’ right to freedom of expression by reversing this suspension.”
The federal government had on June 4, 2021, suspended Twitter operations in Nigeria, after the social media platform deleted President Buhari’s Tweet.
However, the government cited the persistent use of Twitter “for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence.”
It also said all Over The Top (OTP) and social media platforms must be licensed by the National Broadcasting Commission, a move that has been described as an attempt to gag freedom of expression in Nigeria.
Local and international community as well as civil society organisations have condemned the Buhari government, demanding that
the right of expression of Nigerians be respected, however, the government has been unyielding, insisting on the regulation of the social media.

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