Fake news fuelling crisis in Nigeria: Lai Mohammed

Posted by Bolaji Buhari, Lagos | 14 October 2018 | 1,466 times

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•Lai Mohammed

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, on Saturday appealed to all Nigerians to join forces with government to combat the menace of fake news.

The minister made the appeal while speaking at the inaugural lecture of the Guild of Professional Bloggers of Nigeria (GPBN) in Lagos.

The News Agency of the Nigeria (NAN) reports that the theme of the lecture was “Combating Fake News in the Cyberspace”.

Mohammed said the collective efforts of all Nigerians were needed in view of the threats fake news posed to peace and unity of the country.

He explained that most of the security issues confronting the country, such as herders/farmers were caused by the misrepresentation of facts in both the mainstream and social media.

The minister said the spread of fake news has also promoted ethnic and religious suspicions among Nigerians.

He said the media, especially, had a huge responsibility to check the problem in view of their strength and reach, calling on professionals to always verify their facts before sending out information.

“The media have a responsibility to verify the facts before they share, because once they share, it is always very difficult to retract.

“You see most of the issues we have about herders/farmers clashes, killings are being fuelled by fake news.

“Look at the farmers/herders’ clashes, the truth is that they are being caused largely by population explosion, climate change and pure criminality.

“So, it has nothing to do with religion or ethnicity.

 “Of course, I must state the issue of criminality too, but we must stop presenting the issues as if it is Muslims against Christians or Hausas against Ibos. That’s not true.

“So, we should stop this narrative of Christians/Muslims or North/South.

”We are dealing with pure criminality, population explosion and climate change and that is the way we should look at it.

“If we continue to post fake news attributing different reasons to the real causes of these issues, a stage will come when Muslims will be suspicious of Christians, Christians become suspicious of Muslim for no reason.

”And that is not good for our unity,” he said.

 The minister said the government was partnering different media organisations to check the problem of fake news.

He listed some of them as the News Agency of Nigeria, Nigeria Television Authority, Vanguard Newspapers and Television Continental (TVC)

Mohammed said the government was also collaborating with local and international social media platforms such as Facebook and WhatsApp to tackle the problem of fake news. (NAN)

Source: News Express

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