FG vows to punish those spreading fake news

Posted by News Express | 4 June 2017 | 1,456 times

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•Information and Culture Minister Lai Mohammed.

 The Federal Government has expressed concern about the rising cases of fake news in the country, saying the development is a threat to the nation’s unity.

Reacting to the false news of bomb blasts in Abuja and Lagos, which were widely circulated in the past few days, the Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, said the Federal Government will expose those behind fake news and bring them to justice.

In a statement by his Special Adviser, Mr Segun Adeyemi, today, the minister called on Nigerians to be extra vigilant as a result of the worsening cases of fake news being spread by unscrupulous persons who are bent on destabilising the polity.

“On our part, we will not relent until we have exposed those who are behind this fake news phenomenon and brought them to justice,” Mr Mohammed said, adding that the fake news phenomenon is “the scourge of our times”.

According to him, each of the major cases of fake news that made the rounds this weekend alone is capable of causing panic, triggering chaos or setting one group against the other.

In one instance, he said a gory video of a blast that occurred many years ago is being circulated along with the false news of a bomb blast in Abuja.

Also, on Saturday, the Lagos State Police Command had to issue a statement, calling on Nigerians to disregard false reports of a bomb blast in Oshodi area of Lagos.

“We would like to allay the fears of the general public with regard to the falsehood being circulated on the social media in respect of security situation at Mafoluku-Oshodi and environs,” it had said.

Mr Mohammed explained that the latest strategy being employed by the purveyors of fake news “is to attribute to top government officials improbable statements that are capable of destabilising the polity, causing tension and threatening the country’s unity”.

“This is why we are appealing to Nigerians not to ever engage in a knee-jerk reaction to any news, and to subject every information to a very serious scrutiny by checking with security agencies and government spokespersons,” he said.

The minister called on the traditional media to join the campaign against the purveyors of fake news, especially because the websites of many reputable media organisations are being parodied and used to spread false information in order to gain some modicum of credibility. (Channels TV)

Source: News Express

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