Hisbah's Approach to Skit Regulation in Kano State

We’re Not After Skit Makers, Says Hisbah

The Hisbah, Kano State’s security unit, has clarified that their efforts to regulate skit creation on social media, especially TikTok, aim to influence public behavior rather than infringe upon human rights.

The Hisbah’s initiative to regulate skit creation on social media platforms stems from a broader commitment to preserving and promoting cultural and moral values. They view social media as a powerful tool that can either contribute positively to society or undermine established norms. The focus on skit makers, especially on platforms like TikTok, is not an attempt to curtail freedom of expression or artistic creativity. Instead, it is an endeavor to guide content creators toward producing material that aligns with the cultural ethos of Kano State.

A key aspect of Hisbah’s initiative is the collaboration with local actors, particularly those from Kannywood, and other skit creators in the state. It’s noteworthy that these artists have voluntarily pledged to maintain a modest approach to their content creation. This indicates a collective understanding of the influence that media, including short skits, can wield over societal values. By working together with the creative community, Hisbah aims to encourage content that reflects and preserves the rich cultural tapestry of Kano State.

Critics have raised concerns about potential infringements on human rights, arguing that such regulation might stifle freedom of expression. However, Hisbah is quick to clarify that their intention is not to suppress creativity but to channel it responsibly. Striking a balance between cultural preservation and human rights is a delicate task, and Hisbah asserts that their measures are taken with a nuanced approach. They believe that fostering a sense of responsibility among content creators can coexist with the protection of individual freedoms.

They highlighted that Kannywood actors and other skit creators in the state have pledged to maintain a modest approach in their content creation process.

This development comes in the wake of public outcry over offensive content and comments by various skit creators—such as Ado Gwanja, Ummi Shakira, Samha Inuwa, Murja, Mr. 442, Safara’u, Dan Maraya, Amude Booth, Kawu Dan Sarki, and Babiana—since late September 2022. These creators have also faced criticism from a group of Islamic clergy.

At the center of this narrative is Murja Kunya, a contentious TikTok personality whose lifestyle diverges from traditional norms in northern Nigeria.

Her candor, her use of foul language, and her thought-provoking posts on social media have generated conversations and arguments within the community.

You may recall that a few days ago, the state’s security team called for the reprimand of Messers Kunya and several others a few weeks prior, citing the state as one of the most devout practitioners of Islamic customs.

You may also recall that a viral video circulating in some quarters of social media respectfully showed Messers Kunya before the commandant general of the commission, paying allegiance to uphold decent Islamic dictates in her content.

The federal government has tried a number of ways to control the internet and social media platforms.

The National Assembly launched a campaign in 2015 to combat social media abuse and tried to enact laws to control it.

The Federal Government banned Twitter on June 4, 2021, following the removal of a message deemed inappropriate by Major-General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), the former President.

The National Information Technology Development Agency also produced a proposed Code of Practice for Interactive Computer Service Platforms and Internet Intermediaries, an 11-page document, on June 13, 2022.

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