- The federal government's move to tackle fake news and hate speech through NITDA has been hailed by some experts
- The experts say regulation of the online space will promote more local content, create jobs, and breed more corporate and law-abiding citizens
- They urged stakeholders to contribute appropriately to the regulation in order to achieve a mutually accepted documents
Kano - The Network of Advocates for Digital Reporting (NADIR) has lauded the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) for drafting a 'Code of Practice for Interactive Computer Service Platforms/Internet Internet Intermediaries'.
At a press conference in Kano, the group said the code will not only strengthen press freedom and maintain the dignity of information but will also curtail fake news and hate speech before and during the 2023 elections.
The coordinator, Dahiru Mohammed Lawal noted that the online space needed to be made comfortable for everyone to address issues that cause panic in society and infringe on laws.
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“This wouldn’t have come at a better time than in the wake of the 2023 general elections when information disorder and illegal content will have a field day; when businesses are going digital without paying necessary dues; when indiscretion in online activities is high.
“An unregulated online space remains a recipe for civil unrest. The need for an instrument that ensures our unity is not exploited for pecuniary gains, while guaranteeing freedom of speech and expression as enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution, is incumbent on all patriotic citizens.
“Behaviours that increase tension along ethnic biases, interreligious incitements, blasphemy and even secessionist tendencies that threaten security and lead to violence and wanton attacks thrive in an unregulated media space.”
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Lawal pointed out that while the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC) regulates broadcast stations, the Nigerian Press Council (NPC) ensures the maintenance of the highest ethical professional standards in the print media.
NADIR recalled that on Thursday, June 16, Meta (Facebook), Google, Twitter, and Microsoft agreed to take a tougher line against disinformation, deep fakes, and fake accounts, under an updated European Union (EU) Code of Practice or face hefty fines.
Lawal said more than 30 signatories including advertising bodies have signed up for the updated code on disinformation as disclosed by the European Commission.
On the socio-economic benefits of the code of practice, Lawal said with the digital space contributing about 18% to Nigeria's GDP, compelling big techs to abide by local laws and pay the requisite tax would increase government revenue.
FG rolls out code for regulating Twitter, Facebook, others
Legit.ng had earlier reported that NITDA announced the release of new regulations guiding the operation of social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook.
NITDA made the announcement of the new regulation on Monday, June 13 via a statement by its spokesperson, Hadiza Umar.
According to Umar, the new regulation is expected to guide and protect the fundamental human rights of Nigerians and non-Nigerians living in the country as well as define guidelines for interacting in the digital ecosystem.
2023: FCI to partner with other agencies to combat fake news
In a related development, FactCheck Initiative (FCI) has created a team for a cause that will involve partnering with the government and other agencies in other to have free, fair, and peaceful elections in Nigeria void of any form of violence in 2023.
The main aim of this cause will be to spot, examine and respond to the impact caused by any misleading information ahead of the upcoming 2023 general elections in Nigeria.
Adeoye Temitope, country director, FactCheck Initiative says stopping fake news and misinformation is the inspiration behind the project.