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National Council on Information recommends the “setting up of a Council to regulate the use of social media

Issouf Sanogo (AFP/File)

National Council on Information (NCI) has recommended the “setting up
of a Council to regulate the use of social media in Nigeria”.

The recommendation is contained in a communique issued at the end of
Extraordinary Meeting of NCI on Hate Speeches, Fake News and National
Unity held in Jos.

In the communique made available to journalists, the Council
recommended the use of stringent measures in checking conventional media
and their programmes.

The Council, presided over by Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information
and Culture, noted that Social media has no address as such vetting and
editing posting in social media might be difficult.

The Council recommended that Information managers at the state level
should open a website to counter report of any misinformation posted by
the social media as quickly as the hate speeches, misinformation and
fake news are posted.

It recommended immediate killing of whatever postings on social media
assumed or presumed to be hate speeches or fake news or misinformation
by the information managers in various states.

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The Council noted that social media might take over the 2019
elections because Nigerians had come to rely more and believe the social
media over the conventional media.

It directed the Federal and State Ministries of Information to use
jingles to promote peace and come up with cartoons on the TV and
Newspapers telling the dangers of fake news and hate speeches.

“The collaboration must start with National Orientation Agency and the state governments,” the Council recommended.

The Council underscored the need to start talking to those
responsible for law and enforcement of justice to address the issues of
citizens taking laws into their hands.

The body also emphasized that “the welfare of the people is paramount, people well fed will listen to their government”.

The extraordinary meeting of the council was declared open by
Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau, represented by Prof. Sonni Tyoden, his
Deputy.

Mr. Lalong observed that the combination of hate speech, conducts,
commentaries, writing and displays that combined with the engagement of
Hate Media Platforms had in global history proven their ability to
incite genocide.

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He emphasized that any person or group of persons using any media
outlet to bait and explore the innocence and gullibility of a few people
must be condemned and sanctioned as criminal, by all people of
conscience

Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture, in a keynote
address, expressed displeasure over the hate spewed on radio stations
across the country which according to him has become alarming.

The Minister said the careless incitement to violence and the level
of insensitivity to the multi-religious, multi-ethnic nature of the
country must not be allowed to continue because it is detrimental to the
unity and well-being of our country.

The National Council on Information is the highest policy making body for information articulation and delivery in the country.

Delegates to the Council included Heads of Parastatal Agencies in the
Federal Ministry of Information and Commissioners for Information in
the 36 States.

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