Fake news threatens 2019 elections – FG

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The federal government has declared that fake news which has been spreading like wide fire in recent times could threaten next year’s general elections.
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, raised the concern yesterday when he launched a national campaign against fake news in Abuja.
He said “instead of abating, the fake news issue, which became a global phenomenon in the wake of the 2016 US election, has grown worse, hence our decision to launch this national campaign against fake news.” “The essence of this campaign is to sensitise all Nigerians to the dangers posed to the peace and security, and indeed the corporate existence of Nigeria by the phenomenon, and the fact that each and every Nigerian has a role to play in curtailing the spread of fake news.
The timing is also not unconnected to the role of fake news in aggravating the various crises in the country, as well as the need to check this phenomenon ahead of the 2019 elections.
“For those who may not know, we have been calling national attention to the issue of fake news, misinformation and hate speech since 2017.
We even organised a special National Council on Information on the issue of fake news, misinformation and hate speech in Jos in July 2017.
And at a conference for media handlers of governors, in Abuja in 2017, we warned that fake news and misinformation could pose a threat to the 2019 general elections,” he said.
On how the government intended to carry out the campaign successfully, the minister said: “We will use all the information dissemination tools at our disposal, work with both the traditional and social media, as well as the National Orientation Agency (NOA) to get the word out there about the dangers that fake news poses to our peace and security, our democracy and our corporate existence.” He gave the assurance that government would not resort to coercion or censorship, saying: “We do not intend to resort to coercion or censorship in this campaign.
But we want to appeal to all Nigerians to play their active part.
Before sharing that information on Facebook, Twitter or WhatsApp, do two things: Ask how credible the source is, and don’t share any information for which you can’t vouch.
These simple measures may not end fake news, but they will go a long way in stemming its spread.”

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