Senate President, Senator Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan has said that ninth National Assembly is open to ideas while good policy directions and decisions come through a rigorous process of debate, and with participation from all shades of opinion.
While delivering his speech at the Town Hall on hate speech and media regulations bills organised by Daar Communication Plc in NAF Conference, Abuja on Monday.
He said “I need to reiterate that we are a democratic nation, where dialogue, conversation, disagreement and agreement are central to how we resolve issues. When exchanges are meaningful, we are sure to have a productive outcome. But when it is characterized with ceaseless conflict, I doubt if there can be progress”.
He added that the initiative of Daar Communication is to contribute to a national or even a global conversation, on how to solve the problem of hate speech and fake news. “The expected input is supposedly to enrich the knowledge space and provide a pathway towards unraveling the controversy.
“This is the direction that the National Assembly has always followed, by asking citizens to be involved in the democratic process. Of course, democracy is about inclusion and participation. We do not expect these features only in the provision of the dividends of democracy, but also in the processes that lead to it”, he said.
He stated that shutting down views, or making assumptions on what people will say or might not say, is not a good way to expand the range of thoughts and argument that could form part of the decision making process.
“With the calibre of people here today, I am confident that we shall come up with very reasonable conclusions that will add to the information at the disposal of not just the National Assembly, but also with agencies that are concerned with media management and regulation.
“Emotions and sentiments hardly help in a gathering like this. If our minds are open to all lines of thoughts, we will then develop a sense of perspective. Our conclusions will subsequently be helpful to the National Assembly and the government at large”, he said.