THE nation’s democratic principles and the electoral process are at risk from hate speech, according to the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu.
Issuing this warning on Wednesday, Yakubu, who spoke at the International Press Center’s iVerify project launch and platform presentation in Abuja, warned that hate speech can erode democratic norms and fundamental democratic principles, such respect for human rights, and stir up conflict in society.
Trojan News Media reports that the commission’s chairman who was represented at the event by INEC acting Director, Voter Education and Publicity, Mary Nkem, emphasized that hate speech could provoke hostility and aggression.
She said, “Hate speech undermines democratic values. It undermines the core principles of democracy such as respect for human rights, equality and fair treatment of all individuals.
“Hate speech can perpetrate discrimination and exclusion, contradicting the fundamental value of democratic society.
“It can provoke hostility and aggression, leading to acts of harassment and intimidation and even physical violence in the context of the electoral process. This can disrupt the peaceful conduct of elections.
“The proliferation of hate speech in the electoral process can erode public trust in democratic institutions, including the electoral system, political leadership and the media.”