One of the most influential media bodies in Nigeria, the Online Publishers Association of Nigeria, OPAN, Monday said its fourth Annual New Media Conference will be hosted at The Civic Centre in Victoria Island, Lagos on April 21, 2020 at 10.am.
In a statement to the media on Monday, March 9, 2020, the president of OPAN, 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,” Mr. 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 infringe 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 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.
“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, the 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.”
Registered in 2011 with over 120 registered members, the Online Publishers Association of Nigeria is an umbrella body for organizations in digital media practice. The group is “self-regulatory and seeks to enforce relevant standards and minimum practices that will ensure significant improvement in the quality of media contents and practice in the industry.”