- The federal government has launched a national campaign against fake news in Nigeria
- This was announced at a world press conference in Abuja on Wednesday, July 11
- Minister of information and culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, warned that if left unchecked, fake news can spell doom for the country
The minister of information and culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has launched a national campaign against fake news across the nation.
Speaking at a world press conference in the nation's capital, Abuja, on Wednesday, July 11, the minister said the initiative was borne out of the need to ensure the dissemination of fake news does not result to severe consequences for Nigeria.
According to him, the phenomenon is a time bomb that can detonate with deadly consequences if left unchecked.
He also described fake news as a global epidemic that could be worse than all the plagues that the world has recorded put together, a clear and present danger to global peace and security, and a threat to democracy.
He said the fake news phenomenon is capable of undermining confidence in the media, adding: “once the people lose confidence in the media, the media and the society are in trouble.”
Alhaji Mohammed said the essence of the campaign is to “sensitize all Nigerians to the dangers posed to the peace and security, and indeed the corporate existence of Nigeria by the phenomenon, and the fact that each and every Nigerian has a role to play in curtailing the spread of fake news.”
He explained that though the federal government has been calling national attention to the issue of fake news and hate speeches since last year, “the timing of the launch is also not unconnected to the role of fake news in aggravating the various crises in the country as well as the need to check this phenomenon ahead of the 2019 elections.”
The minister said the government will use all the information dissemination tools at its disposal, work with both the traditional and social media, as well as the National Orientation Agency (NOA) to sensitize Nigerians.
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He said the campaign will, however, not involve the use of coercion and censorship, but appealed to the media to lead the campaign, and to Nigerians not to share any news or message unless they can vouch for its source and authenticity.
The launch was attended by all the heads of the media parastatals under the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, president of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), representatives of the security agencies, social media practitioners and journalists.
Meanwhile, Legit.ng had reported that the federal government admonished Nigerians not to share any information for which they cannot vouch on Facebook, Twitter or WhatsApp as a measure to curtail fake news menace.
Lai Mohammed gave the admonition in Abuja at the launch of National Campaign against Fake News. He urged social media users that before sharing any information on Facebook, Twitter or WhatsApp, they should ascertain how credible the source was.
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