Stakeholders from the media and Academia met in Abuja this week to deliberate on the effects of fake news and how to curb the menace owning to its negative impact on the country.
Delivering a paper on Combating Fake News: The challenges facing press freedom in the Digital Age, Barrister Khalifa Binu Yahya, said fake news is responsible for so many ills in the society and the cause of some of the divisions in the country.
He noted that if Nigeria is serious about combating the menace, there is need to set regulations and follow them religiously.
Khalifa said: “Many people believe that social media should not be regulated because of the freedom of expression that it comes with, But we need regulation and proper education to curb fake news.”
According to him, there was serious need for a concerted effort by all stakeholders to fight the menace as only one individual or group cannot do it alone, “Elections have come and gone, but every party that is aggrieved know what to do. We need to come together and fight fake news.”
In his goodwill message, the Minister of State for Labour, Festus Keyamo, said Social Media had come to stay and it is a good thing as Nigerians can now get their views out to the public without restrictions, but added quickly that it also comes with certain responsibility as Social Media has sidelined the Gatekeepers as it is obtained in the traditional media.
Represented by Mr. Niyi Fatongun, Keyamo said to kill fake news, it is important to kill fake accounts, as fake news is capable of destroying the fabrics of a nation, adding that “Social Media owners Should be able to identify all their account users as a way to tackle fake news.”
The Convener and Country Director of Coalition for Good Governance and Economic Justice in Africa (CGGEJA) Prince John Mayaki, said fake news had become rampant due to the use of technology, adding that People just sat down and concoct stories, because technology is open to them.
He also called for patriotism in the midst of journalism work, saying “But in the midst of all this there was need to be patriotic, because Nigeria is the only country we have. The stability, peace we are enjoying today is better than what is happening in Sudan, despite the bad governance in the country.