BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Communication, expression, and association are all intertwined liberties that are at the basis of any free, democratic society based on the rule of law. In the post-World War II intergovernmental documents, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR, 1948) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, freedom of expression, free flow of information, and media freedom and pluralism have all been recognized as human rights (ICCPR, 1966). Article 19 of both the UDHR and the ICCPR expresses this commitment. The UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression’s 2011 Report makes a strong case for the relevance of online freedom of expression.
Constraints and regulations must adhere to Council of Europe norms, specifically the ECHR and Strasbourg Court case law on the limited set of restrictions on freedom of expression that are required in a democratic society. Furthermore, any interference with the right to communicate, express opinions, or assemble must be based on clear, detailed, and easily accessible regulations.
It’s no secret that the Internet and social media have become increasingly important in political discussions.
In 2011, political developments in North Africa and the Middle East necessitated the use of blogging, video-sharing, and tweeting.
Human rights defenders all across the world rely on them. However, some governments have repressed the use of these new technology to assert ancient liberties. The most severe means of limiting Internet communication have included simply turning down all Internet access (Egypt, January 2011), or even building a wholly state-controlled mini-Net (Syria at the time of writing) (apparently planned by Iran). Governments have utilized their control over local Internet architecture in some cases, such as Bahrain, to purposefully slow down connection speeds, particularly at newspaper offices, hotels, and houses. Thailand, Burma, China, and Iran have all attempted to sway online debates by submitting structured pro-state posts. China has put pressure on search engines to skew results. Bloggers and Internet activists have faced threats and physical attacks in a number of nations. Following riots in numerous British cities, the government recommended giving itself the authority to shut down social media sites in the future.
STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
Blogging, video-sharing, and tweeting are all critical components of modern democracies’ political events. Human rights defenders all across the world rely on them. However, some governments have repressed the use of these new technology to assert ancient liberties. In an attempt to reduce political opposition, authoritarian states are increasing website blocking and filtering, content manipulation, attacks on and imprisonment of bloggers, punishment of ordinary users, cyber attacks, and coercion of website owners to remove content, according to a recent Freedom House study of 37 countries. It argues that Internet limitations around the world are partially a reaction to the rising popularity of sites like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, as well as their substantial involvement in political and social activism. The Nigerian government declared on June 4 that Twitter’s operations in the country had been suspended. The announcement came two days after Twitter removed a message from President Muhammadu Buhari in which Buhari made a thinly disguised warning to secessionist groups in the southeast, telling them to “handle them in the language they understand.” Since declaring the ban, the government has directed federal prosecutors to jail anyone who continues to use Twitter, as well as ordering Internet service providers to block access to the platform. Following some initial debate regarding whether Twitter was accessible, it appears that as of mid-June, most Nigerians are unable to access the platform. More than 120 million Nigerians have access to the internet and social media, according to the Social-Media-Poll-Report (2020).
The Twitter ban is just the most recent example of governments utilizing their control of the Internet and other digital technology to monitor, censor, and oppress its citizens.
As a result, the banning of Twitter in Nigeria usually raises citizen concerns about a breach of their fundamental human rights to free expression, communication, and media association.
As a result, the goal of this research is to look into network limits on Twitter as a way to connect Nigerian individuals’ fundamental rights (a case study of the Twitter ban).
OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The study’s major goal is to look into network restrictions on the Twitter platform as a link to Nigerian people’ fundamental rights. The study aims to find out more about
To see if social media sites like Twitter aided Nigerians’ freedom of expression and association.
To see if a government network restriction on the Twitter platform will have an impact on citizens’ freedom of speech and association.
To see if the Nigerian government’s Twitter ban is a barrier to citizens’ fundamental human rights.
The research is guided by the following hypotheses
HO1: Government network restriction to twitter platform will not affects citizens freedom of communication and association.
H1: Government network restriction to twitter platform will affects citizens freedom of communication and association.
HO2: Nigeria Government Twitter ban is no bridge to the fundamental human rights of her citizens
H1: Nigeria Government Twitter ban is a bridge to the fundamental human rights of her citizens.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The outcomes of this study will be useful to all branches of government as well as Nigerian citizens. The study will inform government arms, particularly the judiciary, on the necessity to re-evaluate the current restriction/ban on the Twitter platform, keeping in mind that internet freedom is crucial. As a result, any limits must be founded on clear, detailed, and easily accessible statute legislation. Those enforcing laws regulating freedom of expression on social media must be completely autonomous, accountable, and have proper protections in place to prevent arbitrariness. Furthermore, the research will add to the body of knowledge, act as a source of reference, and be incredibly useful to students and scholars who are interested.
SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The scope of this research is limited to network restrictions on the Twitter platform: a link to Nigerian citizens’ fundamental human rights. However, the study is confined to Abuja Twitter users.
LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
During the course of this investigation, the following elements have proven to be a hindrance.
Financial constraints– A lack of funds impedes the researcher’s efficiency in locating relevant materials, literature, or information, as well as in the data gathering procedure (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint– The researcher will be working on this subject while also doing other academic tasks. As a result, the amount of time spent on research will be reduced.
DEFINITION OF TERMS
Twitter is a microblogging and social networking website based in the United States that allows users to send and receive messages known as “tweets.” Unregistered users can only view tweets, while registered users can post, like, and retweet them.
Twitter Ban: This is the official halt in the functioning of Twitter, as decreed by the Federal Government of Nigeria on June 5th, 2021, until the proprietors of the social network meet the government’s newly stated requirements.
A restricted network is where NAP sends a computer that requires remediation services or where NAP blocks access to the private network while remediation is completed.
Human rights are moral concepts or conventions that govern certain standards of human behavior and are protected by the United Nations.