The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has urged the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) to lead the government ongoing plans to rid the social media of fake news and hate speech.
He said the NUJ and other media professional bodies should take the lead in sanitizing the social media space because they would be the first victim if we allow hate speech and fake news to thrive on social media.
He stated these on Monday when he received the national executive of the NUJ led by its President, Chris Isiguzo during a courtesy visit to his office.
He added that it was in the interest of the NUJ and other media bodies to be in the vanguard of the campaign against hate speech and fake news.
The minister said: “As a matter of fact, the NUJ and other media professional bodies should take the lead in sanitizing the social media space, because they will be the first victim when the people lose confidence in the media due to the reckless actions of non-journalists and purveyors of fake news and hate speech.”
There has been growing opposition against a bill on hate speech, which recently passed first reading at the National Assembly. The fear has been that the bill was a plot by the government to stifle free speech.
But Mohammed said the plan by the Federal Government to regulate social media is not aimed at gagging journalists or stifling free speech.
He said “only the purveyors of fake news and hate speech need to be worried.”