AN ASSESSMENT OF TWITTER BAN ON NIGERIA’S IMAGE IN THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY
- Background of the study
The term “social media” is frequently used to describe new kinds of media that allow for interactive involvement. The evolution of media is often split into two epochs: the broadcast epoch and the interactive epoch. During the broadcast era, media was nearly entirely centralized, with one institution such as a radio or television station, newspaper business, or film production studio disseminating messages to a large audience. Media feedback was often indirect, delayed, and impersonal. Individual contact was generally mediated on a much smaller scale, generally via personal letters, phone conversations, or sometimes on a little larger scale via photocopied family newsletters. Individual contact on a wide scale became simpler for people than ever before as a result of the development of digital and mobile technologies; as a result, a new media age was created, with interactivity at the heart of new media functions. One person could now communicate with a large number of others, and immediate feedback was a possibility. Citizens and customers used to have restricted and sometimes muffled voices, but today they can express their thoughts with a large number of people. Because of the cheap cost and accessibility of modern technology, people now have more choices for media consumption than ever before, and instead of relying on just a few news channels, they can now seek information from a variety of sources and discuss it with others through message boards. Social media is at the heart of this continuing transformation. Here, we look at the features, common forms, and common uses of social media. All forms of social media use a digital platform, whether it’s mobile or fixed. However, not all digital content is inherently social media. Social media is defined by two qualities. To begin with, social media allows for some kind of engagement. Even though social networking platforms like Facebook enable passive observation of what others are sharing, social media is never entirely passive. At the very least, a profile must be established that enables for the possibility of engagement to begin. That characteristic alone distinguishes social media from conventional media, which does not allow for personal accounts. Second, social media encourage engagement, which is in keeping with their participatory character. This contact may take place with long-time friends, relatives, or acquaintances, as well as with new individuals who have similar interests or even belong to the same acquaintance group. Although many social media platforms were or are originally seen as new, as they grow more incorporated into people’s personal and professional life, they become less noticeable and more anticipated.
In terms of rhetoric, the ‘international community’ has become a popular topic in political and public debate. Whether it’s human rights protection, the fight against global terrorism, crisis management and response to environmental disasters and humanitarian emergencies, or international negotiations with regimes like Iran and North Korea, the international community appears to be at the forefront whenever global peace and security are threatened in the age of globalization. While there is discussion that there is some sort of unified and long-lasting actor known as the “international community,” it is unclear who or what it represents. International lawyers and theorists of International Relations have debated the concept’s origins, function, and character, but no clear, agreed-upon explanation has emerged.
The term “international community” has been explored from two different disciplinary viewpoints. The first is a legal viewpoint that examines the nature and scope of the norms and principles that make up international law’s constitutional core. When nations agree to create specific constitutional components that lay forth the fundamental requirements for global law-making, an international legal community (Voelkerrechtsgemeinschaft) is formed. Mosler (1980) is probably the most famous proponent of this viewpoint, although it may also be found in Tomuschat (1993) and Fassbender’s writings (2009). The constitution, considered as society’s highest law, is what, according to Mosler (1990: 15), “transforms a society into a community ruled by law.” He argued that every society “must have one fundamental constitutional norm without which it would not be a community” (Mosler 1980: 16).
The UN Charter and the substantive norms and normative objectives included in it are often connected with today’s vision of an international legal community, which is strongly connected to progressive moral values, most notably human rights and equality. From Bilateralism to Community Interest in International Law, by Bruno Simma (1994), encapsulates the core of how both the formation and nature of international law have changed. As Kingsbury and Donaldson (2011: 79) put it, “international law is, and should be, building on and evolving from its foundations in a minimal statist system based on a series of consent-based bilateral legal relations of opposability between States (‘bilateralism’), toward a legal order of what he [Simma] called “international community.” He intended a “more socially aware legal system,” one that is more responsive to community concerns. Rather than being a merely legal body, this indicates that the term “international community” speaks for, and is a fundamental expression of, contemporary international law’s increasing cosmopolitan growth. Its development not only symbolizes the new purpose, moral and political goals, and moral and political ideals that underpin global normative order-making, but also ‘grounds international law’s promise of universalism.’ Kingbury and Donaldson (2011), p. 79.
As a sociological concept, ‘International Community’
The kind of ‘international community’ that may produce collective action and internationally accepted ethical norms may be extended both via and against international law, but it also transcends and presupposes any normative system based on state consent and individual interests. Even if the term “international community” is defined as a legal body with a purely prudential constitution, there must be some pre-existing shared interests and social objectives that drive the creation of such a constitution. To put it another way, community interests do not arise from a normative vacuum, and issues concerning a legal system’s normative goals naturally come before its actual organization. If one approaches the term “international community” from a sociological standpoint, the emphasis moves to a more abstract level. It’s less about the function of the law and the rule of law here than it is about the degree of human connection, a sense of belonging, and the creation and perception of what separates “Us” from “Others.” This viewpoint stems from Ferdinand Tönnies’ fundamental difference between “society” and “community” (Tönnies, 2002), and it is prevalent in English School debates on global society and culture (Buzan 2004: 74-76). Tönnies’ differentiation (2002: 33-37) is based on the kind of connection that exists between members of a social group. The term “organic community” refers to a group of people who have a natural affinity to one another. Society, on the other hand, is ‘mechanic,’ having been created to serve the rational interests of its members. With respect to the international context, David Ellis (2009) expands on this concept of an organic community. According to Ellis (2009: 7), the presence of a sufficiently developed common ethos is the critical factor in the difference between an international society based on interdependence and an international community: The common ethos is made up of the values and conventions that form the community’s collective identity. It generates predicted material consequences of cultural environments: states align their self-presentations with the community ethos and derive their frames from it (Schimmelfennig quoted in Ellis 2009: 7).
Two major corollaries follow from a notion of “international community” based on a shared ethos. The first is how this difference helps to clarify the connection between international society and international community by drawing some preliminary distinctions between the two notions. The presence of a logical, contractual organization such as the society of states is viewed as analytically antecedent to the development of a common ethos (Tönnies 2002; Conklin 2012). The presence of specific constitutional principles for the formulation and implementation of legal norms, as well as state agreement and consistent practices, may be used to infer the existence of international society. However, it does not assume the sort of organic oneness required for the development of an international community from a sociological standpoint. On this issue, the philosophy of the English School is quite clear. International law is seen as the foundation of international society, implying the kind of rule-governed interaction that is fundamental to Bull and Watson’s classic description of international society (1984: 1). However, laws and procedural procedures alone do not create or reflect the organic “we” feeling that ties a community’s members together. This raises a slew of difficult issues regarding the connection between the terms “international community” and “international society.” As previously said, society is the more fundamental, and definitely from an anthropological standpoint, preceding concept. The literature of the English School supports this viewpoint, arguing that in order to build an international society, there must be a degree of shared interest and cultural unity (Bull 1977: 16, Wight 1977: 33). Barry Buzan (1993) suggests that there is historical evidence to support this view, citing Wight’s case studies of classical Greece and early modern Europe, as well as Gong’s (1984) genealogy of the standard of “civilization” in his analysis of the international system/international society distinction. Nonetheless, he admits that ‘international society may emerge functionally from the logic of anarchy without prior cultural ties’ in principle (Buzan 1993: 334). David Ellis (2009: 8) goes even farther, claiming that the density of contact generated and pushed by international society is an essential prerequisite for the formation of a shared ethos. This would imply a derivative connection, with international society arriving first, supplying the normative backdrop structures required for the formation of socio-cultural ties. This raises a slew of difficult issues regarding the connection between the terms “international community” and “international society.” As previously said, society is the more fundamental, and definitely from an anthropological standpoint, preceding concept. The literature of the English School supports this viewpoint, arguing that in order to build an international society, there must be a degree of shared interest and cultural unity (Bull 1977: 16, Wight 1977: 33). Barry Buzan (1993) suggests that there is historical evidence to support this view, citing Wight’s case studies of classical Greece and early modern Europe, as well as Gong’s (1984) genealogy of the standard of “civilization” in his analysis of the international system/international society distinction. Nonetheless, he admits that ‘international society may emerge functionally from the logic of anarchy without prior cultural ties’ in principle. 334 (Buzan 1993). David Ellis (2009: 8) goes even farther, claiming that the density of contact generated and pushed by international society is an essential prerequisite for the formation of a shared ethos. This would imply a derivative connection, with international society arriving first, supplying the normative backdrop structures required for the formation of socio-cultural ties. My unsatisfactory intuition is that both logics are at work, and that the relationship between international society and international community is reticular rather than derivative: continuous interaction, enabled and facilitated by international society’s fundamental institutions such as diplomacy, great power management, and international law, leads to, and is generated by, international community.
- Statement of research problem
Emmanuel Alumona, a front-end developer in Lagos, discovered he couldn’t access Twitter on his phone early on Saturday 4th, June 2021. The Nigerian government had previously stated that Twitter’s operations in the nation will be suspended indefinitely due to “the continuous use of the platform for actions that are capable of damaging Nigeria’s corporate existence.” The ban in Africa’s most populous nation comes only two days after Twitter removed a message from President Muhammadu Buhari’s account for breaking its rules. “I thought Twitter’s ban was a joke,” said Alumona, 24, who now uses a VPN to access Twitter. “I didn’t think the government would go that low. Twitter is similar to my local newspaper. I refresh my timeline whenever I want to see what’s going on in the nation. My site was not loading when I got up on Saturday,” Alumona told Al Jazeera. The government’s proposal to control social media includes a ban on Twitter, a tool that aided the governing party’s win in the 2015 presidential election. In 2017, Nigeria’s communications minister, Lai Mohammed, criticized social media for “the onslaught of misinformation and false news.”
Soon after, the National Council on Information (NCI) was formed, with the recommendation of forming a council to govern the usage of social media. In 2019, the information minister backed Senator Mohammed Sani Musa of the governing APC party’s anti-social media bill, titled: Protections against Internet Falsehood and Manipulation. The government also mandated that internet businesses such as WhatsApp, Zoom, Netflix, and Skype acquire licenses from the National Broadcasting Commission before they may operate in the nation. “Clearly, the registration is a pretext for regulation,” said Joachim MacEbong, a senior analyst at SBM Intelligence, a Lagos-based political risk research company. “They are demonstrating that they are willing to restrict democratic freedom. The next two years will be challenging.” In 2015, President Buhari, who took power in a 1983 coup and imprisoned hundreds of people, used social media as part of a campaign strategy portraying him as a “converted democrat” in his fourth presidential bid. Buhari was elected president in 2015 after being overthrown in another coup in 1985. Buhari’s government, according to analysts, is reminiscent of his military dictatorship from 1984. He enacted harsh legislation that allowed the government to imprison any journalist or member of the civil society who “embarrassed” the country’s military leader. Several journalists have been imprisoned or charged with treason during his presidency. The Reporters Without Borders (RSF) World Press Freedom Index ranked Nigeria 120th out of 180 countries in 2021. Nigeria has been lauded as one of the few African countries to attract investment into its tech ecosystem, but it was recently overlooked when Twitter chose Ghana as the location for its first African headquarters. However, with the Twitter ban, the international community has weighed in on Nigerians’ plight, stating that Nigeria is a democratic country where freedom of speech is protected. “The Biden State Department called on Nigeria to restore its citizens’ access to Twitter after the government blocked the site in retaliation for deleting a tweet posted by the Nigerian president,” the US government said in its own contribution. The United States “condemns the Nigerian government’s ongoing suspension of Twitter and threats to arrest and prosecute Nigerians who use Twitter,” according to a statement from the State Department. The agency went on to say that freedom of speech and access to information are “fundamental to successful and safe democratic societies.” The department urged Nigeria’s government to “respect its citizens’ right to freedom of expression by lifting the ban.”
- Objectives of the study
The primary objective of the study is as follows
- To find out the reasons for the ban on twitter
- To find out how international community view Nigeria in the aftermath of the twitter ban.
- To find out how Nigeria’s internal affairs infringes on the her citizens right.
- To find out how Nigeria’s democratic image amongst the international community.
- Research questions
The following questions have been prepared for the study
- What are the causes for the ban on twitter?
- How does the international community view Nigeria in the aftermath of the twitter ban?
- How does Nigeria’s internal affairs infringe on her citizens right?
- What is the democratic image of Nigeria’s amongst the international community ?
- Significance of the study
The significance of this study cannot be underestimated as:
- This study will examine stress management practices of career women in Lagos state Nigeria.
- The findings of this research work will undoubtedly provide the much needed information to government organizations, career women, companies and academia.
- Scope of the study
This study assesses twitter ban on Nigeria’s image in the international community . hence, this study will be delimited to twitter users in federal capital territory(FCT) Nigeria
- Limitations of the study
This study was constrained by a number of factors which are as follows:
just like any other research, ranging from unavailability of needed accurate materials on the topic under study, inability to get data
Financial constraint , was faced by the researcher ,in getting relevant materials and in printing and collation of questionnaires
Time factor: time factor pose another constraint since having to shuttle between writing of the research and also engaging in other academic work making it uneasy for the researcher
- Operational definition of terms
Assessment: the action or an instance of making a judgment about something
Twitter: give a call consisting of repeated light tremulous sounds.
Image: a representation of the external form of a person or thing in art.
International community: the countries of the world considered collectively.
DENNIS R. SCHMIDT, NOV 27 2015 The International Community: Conceptual Insights from Law and Sociology, Buzan 2009 cited in, mosler, 1980 cited in, tomuschat, 1993 cited in, fassbender, 2009 cited in, bruno simma 1994 cited in, ferdinand tonnies 2002 cited in, david ellis 2009 cited in.