Lai Mohammed: Fake news, hate speech is time bomb in multi-ethnic, religious Nigeria


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The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has warned that the increase in the propagation of fake news and hate speech in the country is dangerous if it is allowed to continue unchecked.

While speaking during an interview on the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) on Friday, July 13, 2018, the minister said the deliberate spread of fake news and hate speech, especially on social media, is a threat to the country's national security.

He noted that the federal government's recent launch of a campaign against fake news is to sensitise Nigerians about the role they can play in fighting it to prevent the escalation of security issues.

He said, "The essence of launching the campaign against fake news on Wednesday is to sensitise Nigerians to understand the dangers posed by fake news because it threatens not just peace and security but it is also a threat to the very corporate existence of a nation.

"In particular, in a country like Nigeria which is multi-ethnic and religious, fake news and hate speech is time bomb.

"We also launched the campaign to sensitise Nigerians that each and every one of us can play a role in combating the rising level of fake news.

"Fake news is a global issue, it is not just a Nigerian issue but we are more concerned about Nigeria because of the potential it has to our corporate existence.

"In 2017, we did draw attention to the phenomenon of fake news, we were so concerned and worried and decided to dedicate an entire National Council on Information meeting to examine fake news and hate speech because we saw that people were already exploiting our national front.

"We advise all members of the council to ensure that they can vouch for the credibility of any information before they publish it. We also advise them not to share any information whose credibility they cannot vouch for.

"It is true that the major pivotal of fake news is probably the social media but gradually it is also penetrating into the traditional media."

He warned traditional media organisations to not lose their credibility by fuelling fake news, noting that it could spell trouble for the country.

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