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A critical investigation of the role of the hate speech bill in prohibiting verbal abuse on social media

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

Long ago, humans developed increasing communication around the planet. Those connections have helped to highlight other people’s ways of life/behavior, religious practices, cultural distinctions, and political views. Technology and communication have recently accelerated the rate of global integration, creating a sense of immediate neighborhood regardless of distance, and turning the world into a field of constant movement without direction, engendering unequalled interaction in the geometrical progression of societal networking. Beckman et al., 2004. Changes in behavior and patterns of connection are altered either negatively or positively as money, technology, and raw commodities move more quickly. Widespread pain, chaos, injustice, and unrest as societal vices are not left behind in this global movement. Non-indigene syndrome, for example, is rampant in Nigerian society. Discrimination or indigenization, on the other hand, is regarded in Nigeria as a social evil that must not be spoken of or practiced. Religion, according to Bakari (2017), is a universal phenomenon that encompasses both ancient and modern human communities. The term “religion” has many different meanings, and its definition is extremely debatable. The existence and belief in a supernatural being that has a guiding effect on human life is the essence of religion. Bakari emphasized his understanding that Theravada Buddhism does not include believing in supernatural beings. When religion is considered as a human endeavor that establishes a holy, it gives motion to human beings’ activities in relation to sacred realms that are separate from the ordinary world. Religion may also be defined as a set of beliefs and practices that a group uses to deal with life’s most difficult issues. The importance of religion in the governance of human society abhors racism, which encourages denials and unjust treatment of people based on color or race without regard to the content of their character. Racism has been viewed as a social problem in most European countries, Asia, and South Africa, where it has been propagated by white settlers in the minority. In America, for example, racism has resulted in segregation, conflict, hostility, violence, and political fragmentation despite the late 1960s civil rights legislation prohibiting discrimination in school, employment, and religion (Van De Berghe 1970). In the Nigerian context, laws have been passed upholding freedom of speech, association, human rights, justice, fairness, and equality before the law; that a Nigerian has the right to own property in any part of the country, study anywhere, be a member of any religious group, and work in any government firm without discrimination; but zero tolerance has eluded these laws in a pluralistic nation.

1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

Every person you meet, every message you receive, every word you say, and every thought you have can lead to public humiliation, accusations, condemnation, and threats of serious bodily damage in an instant. Do you have a feeling of being overwhelmed? Welcome to the world of cyberbullying. Despite the fact that different types of online harassment have been studied since the beginning of the Internet (Dibbell, 1994; Greenberg, 1996; Huff, Johnson, & Miller, 2002; McGraw, 1995; Smith, 2002; Starr, 2000; Topper, 2001), online harassment is still not well understood socially, legally, or academically (Citron, 2014; Reed, 2009; Salter & Bryden, 2009). For example, the idea of “cyberstalking” was only recently legalized, partly due to its close ties to the more well-known crime of “offline” stalking (National Centre for Cyberstalking Research, 2011). Furthermore, as technology evolves, new capabilities and constraints emerge for both online and offline harassment, notably through social media platforms (Citron, 2014; Perry & Olsson, 2009; Pew Research Center, 2014; Voelcker, 2006). Bastiaensens et al., 2014; Beckman, Hagquist, & Hellström, 2013; Calvete, Orue, Estévez, Villardón, & Padilla, 2010; Citron, 2014; Fenaughty & Harré, 2013; National White Collar Crime Center, 2013; National White Collar Crime Center, 2013; National White Collar Crime Center, 2013; National White Collar As a result, a broad definition of online harassment might be considered to include these and other types of online harassment, such as hate speech or the public display of private pictures without consent (Citron, 2014).

1.3 OF THE STUDY OBJECTIVE

The overall goal of the research is to critically investigate the role of the hate speech bill in prohibiting verbal abuse on social media. Specifically, the study is set to;

  1. Investigate the causes of  verbal abuse on social media.
  2. Investigate the negative effect of verbal abuse on social media
  3. Investigate if  hate speech bill has reduced the rate of verbal abuse on social media.

1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS

The following research questions guide the objective of the study:

  1. What are the causes of verbal abuse on social media?
  2. What are the negative effect of verbal abuse on social media?
  3. Has the hate speech bill contributed significantly on the reduction of verbal abuse on social medias?

1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

This study will be significant as it will expose the level of awareness of the hate speech bill among Nigerians. It will also create awareness of the hate speech bill on social media among Nigerians. Finally, the study will contribute to the current literature in this field and will also serve as a resource for academics, researchers, and students who may want to do future research on this or a comparable issue.

1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY

The study aims to investigating  the causes of  verbal abuse on social media, the negative effect of verbal abuse on social media, and if  hate speech bill has reduced the rate of verbal abuse on social media. The respondents of this study will therefore be obtained from Political science students, mass communication students and public administration students in the Uni-Port. Rivers State.

1.7 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY

During the course of this study, the researchers were faced with time constraints which prevented them from delving deeper into this study.

1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS

HATE SPEECHHate speech is defined by the Cambridge Dictionary as “public speech that expresses hate or encourages violence towards a person or group based on something such as race, religion, sex, or sexual orientation.”

VERBAL ABUSEVerbal abuse is a type of psychological/mental abuse that involves the use of oral language, gestured language, and written language directed to a victim.

SOCIAL MEDIAwebsites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking.

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