U.S. calls on Nigeria to end Twitter suspension


FILE PHOTO: A man looks at newspapers at a newsstand in Abuja, Nigeria June 5, 2021. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The United States on Thursday condemned the Nigerian government for suspending Twitter and targeting individuals who use the social media site, including Nigerian broadcasters, and called for the African nation to reverse its decision.

"Unduly restricting the ability of Nigerians to report, gather, and disseminate opinions and information has no place in a democracy. Freedom of expression and access to information both online and offline are foundational to prosperous and secure democratic societies," U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.

Price noted that the Nigerian National Broadcasting Commission had ordered all television and radio broadcasters to stop using Twitter, also calling it a concern.

Nigerian indefinitely suspended Twitter last week after the social media giant removed a post from President Muhammadu Buhari that threatened to punish regional secessionists - an announcement the government posted on Twitter.

Telecommunications firms there then blocked access to the platform, and on Wednesday the Nigerian government said social media firms must obtain a license to operate in the country.

Twitter Inc has said it will work to restore access. The company, along with human rights groups such as Amnesty International, also called the suspension deeply concerning.

(Reporting by Susan HeaveyEditing by Chris Reese and Steve Orlofsky)

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