Hate Speeches: FG To Regulate Social Media In Nigeria

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Following the rate at which hate speeches flood various media platforms across the country, the Federal Government has proposed the regulation of social media in Nigeria.

In a communique issued at the end of Extraordinary Meeting of the National Council on Information (NCI) on Hate Speeches, Fake News and National Unity held in Jos, the Council also recommended the use of stringent measures in checking conventional media and their programmes.

Presided over by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, the Council noted that Social media has no address thus making the vetting and editing of posts on social media difficult.

In its recommendation, the Council proposed that information managers at all state levels should open a website to counter reports of any misinformation posted on social media as quickly as the hate speeches, misinformation and fake news are posted.

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It also recommended immediate killing of whatever postings on social media assumed or presumed to be hate speeches or fake news or misinformation by the information managers in various states.

The Council expressed fears that social media might take over the 2019 elections because Nigerians had come to rely more on and believe the social media over the conventional media.

The NCI further directed the Federal and State Ministries of Information to use jingles to promote peace and come up with cartoons on TV and Newspapers which portray and educate the masses on the dangers of fake news and hate speeches.

“The collaboration must start with National Orientation Agency and the state governments,” the Council stated.

In his keynote address, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed expressed displeasure over the hate spewed on radio stations across the country which according to him has become alarming.

The Minister said the careless incitement to violence and the level of insensitivity to the multi-religious, multi-ethnic nature of the country must not be allowed to continue because it is detrimental to the unity and well-being of our country.

The extraordinary meeting of the council was declared open by Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau who was represented by his Deputy Prof. Sonni Tyoden, NAN reports.

Governor Lalong observed that the combination of hate speech, conducts, commentaries, writing and displays that combined with the engagement of Hate Media Platforms had in global history proven their ability to incite genocide.

He emphasised that any person or group of persons using any media outlet to bait and explore the innocence and gullibility of a few people must be condemned and sanctioned as criminal, by all people of conscience.

The Council underscored the need to start talking to those responsible for law and enforcement of justice to address the issues of citizens taking laws into their hands. It emphasised that “the welfare of the people is paramount, people well fed will listen to their government”.

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Delegates to the Council included Heads of Parastatal Agencies in the Federal Ministry of Information and Commissioners for Information in the 36 States.