Lai Mohammed says FG is fighting fake news about COVID-19
- The minister information and culture, Lai Mohammed, has disclosed some of the strategies used by the federal government to contain the spread of fake news
- Mohammed noted that one of the methods involves stamping false stories as fake news to alert the public
- The minister also pointed out that fake news is reported to security organisations for appropriate action
The minister information and culture, Lai Mohammed, has disclosed some of the strategies being deployed by the federal government to contain the spread of fake news amidst the coronavirus pandemic
Mohammed on Tuesday, April 14, on the Nigeria Television Authority, said one of the methods involves stamping false stories as fake news to alert the public.
The minister also pointed out that fake stories are reported to security organisations for appropriate action
He, however, pointed out that there is a need to educate Nigerians on the proper channels to derive credible information on COVID-19.
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The minister said the credible information on COVID-19 can be derived from the daily media conference by the task force and the media appearances of members of the task force or the website of National Centre for Disease Control which updates its information on this pandemic every minute.
Mohammed dismissed a claim that members of the presidential task force for the control of coronavirus are collecting N500,000 daily sitting allowance.
The minister said that the purveyors of such fake news are evil.
Meanwhile, a new report by the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) indicates that the volume of disinformation in Nigeria concerning the COVID-19 pandemic has reached a troubling stage.
The report which was sent to the Legit.ng on Wednesday, April 15, warned that the situation is further exacerbating pre-existing ethnic and religious tensions.
Legit.ng gathered that the study is based on more than sixty interviews with respondents across six states - Borno, Kano, Lagos, Imo, Kogi and Bayelsa - each chosen to represent a geopolitical zone.
The report finds that “Nigeria’s political and ethnoreligious landscape, challenged by insecurity, provides fertile ground for the spread of disinformation on social media platforms and private messaging applications that are growing in users month on month.”
Disinformation, different from misinformation, in its deliberate intent to mislead, is often designed to either delegitimise institutions, groups or personalities, glorify a leader or during elections to confuse voters, instigate voter apathy or marginalise women and other vulnerable groups.
The study found that “with increasingly sophisticated technology, it is becoming harder to decipher fact from fiction online in Nigeria with any great certainty.”
The report proposes that a more sustainable solution to the menace of disinformation lies with creating a more digitally informed and educated citizenry, capable of assessing for themselves what is true and what is not online.
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