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CPJ: CPJ joins call to revise Nigeria’s draft data protection bill

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The Committee to Protect Journalists has joined Paradigm Initiative, a Nigeria-based digital rights group, and the NetRights Coalition of over 100 global civil society groups to submit comments on Nigeria’s draft data protection bill, which is undergoing a public consultation process

The submission said that the bill should “protect those fulfilling their duty as journalists” from censorship under the law, and “define ‘data’ in such a way that ensures journalistic reporting, including on individuals, is explicitly protected.” The existing draft would allow authorities to “ignore the law based on ‘national security’ interests,” the submission said, expressing concern “given the prevalence of such rationale to restrict critical reporting and retaliate against journalists and media organizations.”

Last year, CPJ reported how Nigerian police repeatedly leveraged their ability to access to civilians’ call data from telecommunication companies to track down and arrest journalists. A  lawsuit against Nigeria’s communications regulator over warrantless access to such data, filed by a local group as a result of that reporting, is still pending.

The submission, dated September 8, is available here.

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