Facebook To Work With Nigeria To Combat Fake News – Minister

Lai

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the

National Campaign Against Fake News has received a boost from the

Social Networking Platform, Facebook, which plans to partner with the

Federal Government to check the menace.

 

The Minister announced the planned cooperation in Abuja on Tuesday

when he visited Daar Communications, owners of AIT and Raypower, in

furtherance of the campaign.

 

He said the national campaign, which was launched on 11th July 2018,

has succeeded in bringing the phenomenon to the front burner of

national discourse.

 

“We are not under any illusion that our campaign will immediately end

the menace of fake news. But we know that by creating national

awareness, we are putting the issue of fake news on the front burner.

 

“Fake news is now a subject of national discourse, workshops and

conferences. In the coming days, the social networking web platform,

Facebook, will be meeting with us and other top policy makers across

the country in the days ahead to see how to assist us in fighting fake

news. That, to us, is a major step forward, and we thank all

our partners, and indeed all Nigerians, for this achievement,” Alhaji

Mohammed said.

 

The Minister, who described fake news as a global phenomenon, said

different countries are adopting various measures to tackle the

menace, but said Nigeria has decided to appeal to the sense of

responsibility of media practitioners, bloggers and Social Media

Influencers, instead of engaging in coercion or censorship.

 

He said if left unchecked, fake news has the capacity to disrupt the

peace and unity of the country and it’s also a clear and present

danger to the nation’s democracy.

 

“For example, the fake news phenomenon played out during the recent

governorship elections in Osun State. Whereas 16 PDP members were

arrested for various offences, including impersonating observers and

for violence during the rerun, the purveyors of fake news made it look

as if the APC was the perpetrators of these crimes.

 

“Also, a few days ago, fake news about the release of Leah Sharibu

circulated freely on the social media. Imagine the additional trauma

this would have caused for the parents. Imagine the implication on

efforts to secure her release, and indeed the national security

implications,” Alhaji Mohammed said.

 

He said the campaign against fake news could not have come at a better

time, considering that the 2019 general elections are fast approaching

and enemies of democracy will latch on to it to wreak havoc.

 

In his remarks, the Group Managing Director of Daar Communications

Plc, Mr. Tony Akiotu, commended the Minister for embarking on the

campaign to minimize the dangers of fake news to the unity and

security of the country.

 

He pledged the readiness of Daar Communications to partner with the

Federal Ministry of Information and Culture to check the excesses of

fake news.

 

“Honourable Minister, I will like to assure you that the management

and staff of Daar Communications PLC, without reservation, join in the

crusade and will be one of your major partners in the campaign against

fake news because we don’t have a choice. If we don’t do so, we will

be one of the media organizations that will be encumbered and whose

existence will be endangered by those who are involved in this

ignominious business,” Mr. Akiotu said.

 

 

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