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NATIONAL COUNCIL ON INFORMATION CANVASSES MEASURES TO CHECK SOCIAL MEDIA ABUSE

Nigeria's information managers converged recently on Jos, Plateau State for the extra-ordinary meeting of the National Council on Information to discuss the incidence of hate speeches and fake news prevalent in the country in recent times and their implication for national security.

Various speakers at the meeting condemned the various divisive and provocative utterances by some Nigerians who are agitated by alleged acts of marginalizations and injustices which have created tension and anxiety across the country. The speakers expressed worry that these unrestrained utterances have the capacity to precipitate genocidal reactions and suggested that serious measures be evolved to stem the tide.

The social media was particularly accused of being the major culprit in the propagation of hate speeches and false news and suggestions were made for the regulation of the social media. Some speakers however advised that regulation of the social media would be impracticable or counter-productive and suggested that information managers at various levels of government proactively engage the same social media, in addition to the traditional media, to promptly and creatively counter misinformation in the media.

A communiqué issued at the end of the meeting noted that "it is better to kill quickly whatever postings on social media assumed or presumed to be hateful or fake or misinformation by information managers in various states". It also enjoined agencies of law and justice enforcement to urgently address the incidence of citizens taking the laws into their own hands which usually results from weak law enforcement and delayed justice for victims.

The National Council on Information meeting took place on Friday, July 21, 2017 and had in attendance, the Hon. Minister of Information and Culture, Alh. Lai Mohammed who chaired the meeting, Chief Executive Officers of Federal Agencies under the Ministry of Information, Directors in the Ministry, Commissioners of Information of the various states of the Federation, Chief Executive Officers of public radio and television stations across the country and senior information officers from various states. The meeting was declared open by the Plateau State Governor, His Excellency, Mr. Simon B. Lalong who was represented by the State Deputy Governor, Prof Sanni Tyoden.

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