Nigerian Government Constitutes Committee to Tackle Fake News

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Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture
Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture

Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, has said that the Federal Government has constituted a committee to implement the recommendations approved by President Muhammadu Buhari on tackling hate speech and fake news.

The Minister disclosed this on October 20, 2019 at a meeting in Lagos with online publishers, describing hate speech and fake news are the ‘Siamese twins of evil’ which no responsible government will sit by and allow such to rule the airwaves

Calling on the online publishers to support the national campaign and fight the menace which Alhaji Mohammed said, government does not believe will suddenly disappear but which is actually getting worse, adding “it remains a clear and imminent danger to the polity.”

He pointed out that “No responsible government will sit by and allow fake news and hate speech to rule the airwaves, because of the capacity of this menace to exploit our national fault lines to set us against each other and trigger a national conflagration. That is why we will continue to evolve ways to tackle fake news and hate speech until we banish both.”

Giving highlights of the approved recommendations on tackling hate speech and fake news, he said there is a review of fines from N500,000 to N5,000,000 for breaches relating to hate speeches. Speaking further, the Minister said the committee has been saddled with the tasked of ending the issue of monopoly in the broadcast industry, adding, no amount of coordinated attack will whittle down the implementation of the recommendations.

Alhaji Mohammed vowed, “Let me be straight: No amount of attacks sponsored or otherwise will stop the implementation of the approved recommendations. And only non-patriots and anarchists will kick against measures aimed at putting an end to fake news and hate speech, especially in our broadcast industry.

“Only those who are guilty should be afraid of the efforts to sanitize the broadcast industry. Responsible broadcasters have nothing to fear. This is not a move to stifle free speech or gag anyone. But purveyors of fake news and hate speech should not expect to sleep easy.”