- The minister of information and culture, Lai Mohammed, says that social media could destabilise the nation if it is not sanitised
- Mohammed notes that regulation of social media is part of the federal government's task of keeping the country together
- The minister says there are more people who believe that social media poses imminent danger to the unity of Nigeria
The minister of information and culture, Lai Mohammed, has disclosed that the federal government has begun the process of regulating social media in order to prevent it from causing conflict in the country.
Mohammed told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in an interview on Tuesday, November 5, that social media could destabilise the nation if it is not sanitised.
He said the criticism about the decision to sanitise social media was welcome, but noted that the government was tasked with the responsibility of keeping the country together.
The minister said there are more people who believe that social media poses an imminent danger to the unity of Nigeria especially through the spread of fake news and hate speeches.
Mohammed stated that those opposed to the regulation of social media cannot deny the fact that the platform is being used by purveyors of fake news and hate speeches with grave consequences.
He said Nigeria is not the only country that is regulating social media, noting that Germany, Egypt, Russia, India and the UK are all doing something about regulating the social media platform.
He said he is surprised that the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) and other media professional bodies in the country were opposed to the regulation of social media. The minister said well-trained professional journalists do not indulge in fake news and hate speeches.
Mohammed insisted that no amount of criticism and opposition would stop the regulation of the social media and the airwaves.
“No amount of intimidation, sponsored articles in any form is going to stop us from regulating social media,” he stated.
“This is not just a menace to the government, many people have committed suicide because their reputation has been destroyed by social media.”
He said the government would neither gag the media nor stifle the freedom of speech in regulating the social media platforms.
Meanwhile, the efforts by the federal government to clamp down on people who make hate speeches and spread fake news in Nigeria, especially on social media, on Tuesday, November 5, got a boost as the Senate reintroduced a bill to regulate the use of the platform in the country.
Legit.ng reported that the bill, Protection from Internet Falsehood and Manipulations Bill, 2019, sponsored by Mohammed Sani Musa, was one of the 11 bills read for the first time at the red chamber.
A similar anti-social media bill introduced by the eighth senate sparked outrage across the country and was later withdrawn.
According to the online medium, the old bill titled: A Bill For An Act to Prohibit Frivolous Petitions and Other Matters Connected Therewith, was sponsored by Bala Ibn Na’Allah and sought to compel critics to accompany their petitions with sworn court affidavit, or face six months imprisonment upon conviction.
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