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Senate makes u-turn on 7 years jail terms for electronic media bill

By Ehi Ekhator, Colombo, Sri Lanka

SenateThe controversial bill that required seven jail terms for media who intentionally propagate false information that could threaten the security of the country or that it is capable of inciting the general public against the government will be deleted.

This was disclosed on Tuesday by the sponsor of the bill, Senator Adegbenga Kaka with Chairman, Senate Committee on Information, Media and Public Affairs, Senator Eyinnaya Abaribe.

It was announced to journalists that, the section that suggested seven years jail terms or a fine of N5m or both will be deleted

The bill generated controversies for the senate after it hits the public hearing .

According to Senator Kaka, “The bill that I presented to the Senate,  precisely on July 28,  2011, was a bill to regulate the electronic transfer of funds and after presentation,  by the time we got to the second reading, there was a remark that a similar bill was tabled before the Sixth Senate by Senator Ayo Arise.

“I was then asked to go and rework my own and marry it with that of Senator Arise. In the course of doing it, a bill for an act for the prohibition of all electronic transfer, all electronic transaction fraud and electronic transfer transactions in Nigeria and other related matters was presented.

“It passed through the first reading, and the second reading and last week, there was a public hearing by the joint committee on judiciary and narcotics.

“Following this, the social media practitioners took exceptions to the provisions of section 13 (3) and  based on that, I did promised that as a person, the bill as it is presently, is no longer my property,  it is that of the Senate and as a result, I will go and make consultations,  do critical examination of the clause, vis a vis section 123  of the constitution.

“After this, it is resolved that section 13 (3) of the proposed bill could be abused at any point in time and could be misinterpreted.

“As a result, I have the permission of the Senate leadership to announce to the world that that the section 13 (3) shall be deleted.”

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