Minister of Information and Culture Alhaji Lai Mohammed has urged the media to guard against fake news and misinformation, saying it can lead unrest in the society.
He said, “As we are all aware, fake news, misinformation and hate speech can lead to civil unrest and also impact negatively on our national cohesion, hence we must eschew this practice.”
Alhaji Lai also called on the media to always fact- check information before dissemination to the public.
“I want to reiterate my call to the media to set up a desk to fact-check all information at their disposal before dissemination.
“I have observed that some media outfit have kick-started this process and I commend them greatly for this patriotic act. I urge others to emulate this worthy example by setting up this desk.”
He stated this Tuesday in Abuja at a symposium organized by his ministry with the theme: “Information as a Public Good”.
Represented by Director, Production, Publication and Documentation, Lai urged media as gatekeepers to weed out ‘journalists’ whose activities undermines the profession.
He said, “To this end, I urge the media, particularly the gate keepers, to weed out those whose activities, which include spreading fake news, misinformation and hate speech, are undermining professionalism and eroding public confidence in the media.
“We must at all-time note that safeguarding our nationhood and positioning our country and citizens for true development and growth must remain sacrosanct. We will continue to support the media in this regard”
He charged the media to always remember that freedom comes with responsibility.
“Accordingly, I wish to reiterate my call to the media to be circumspect as they exercise this freedom, taking into cognizance our national unity and security.
“Permit me to at this juncture to appreciate the efforts of our courageous men and women of the fourth estate of the realm, who often engage in sapping and sometimes thankless job of being the conscience of the society.
“To us as a government, we see the media as partners in progress in our collective quest to fulfill that which our founding fathers toiled and bled.
This symposium could not have at a better time, a time when the ‘collective good’ has been distorted with the proliferation of fake news, misinformation and hate speech in our media space. These acts overtime have threatened to tarnish the hard earned reputation garnered by the Nigerian media over the years.”