The Federal Government says it is committed to ensuring a responsible and ethical use of the social media and air waves and no amount of opposition will stop it from sanitising the two media platforms.
Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information and Culture, stated this at the 2019 edition of the Annual Lecture of the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) with the theme, “Extremism: Threat to National Unity”.
Mohammed said that since he announced government’s plan to sanitise both the broadcast industry and the social media, there have been varying reactions from Nigerians.
He said while the government welcome the national discourse on the issue, it would not be coerced to abandoning the ongoing plans to sanitise the two media platforms.
“For the umpteenth time, I want to say that responsible and ethical journalists, and indeed all patriots, have nothing to fear, only anarchists and non-patriots, the purveyors of fake news and hate speech, need to worry.
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“This Administration has no intention to gag the media or stifle free speech, but it also won’t sit by and allow hate speech to become free speech.
“As I have said at many fora, no responsible government will sit by and allow fake news and hate speech to dominate its media space, because of the capacity of this menace to exploit our national fault lines to endanger our national unity.
“So, while we welcome the support of most Nigerians who have reached out to us on the need to clean up the air waves and the social media, we also note the criticism of those who oppose our efforts,” he said.
The minister noted that extremists had turned the airwaves and social media to platforms for disseminating fake news and hate speech and the government would not relent until they are sanitised.
“Let me quickly say that some of the tools of choice for extremists to propagate their dangerous ideas include unbridled propaganda, fake news and hate speech.
“The power of the social media, radio and television, including their wide reach, means that we should not allow extremists to turn these powerful media platforms into catalyst for conflict,” he said.
The minister thanked FRCN for the choice of the topic for the lecture, stressing that it would go a long way in helping the people to understand the dangers extremism posed to national unity.
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