Minister calls for high sense of responsibility in information circulation

From left: Editor In-Chief, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Mr Idris Abdulrahman; Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed; and the Managing Director of NAN, Mr Bayo Onanuga, during the Minister’s visit to NAN Headquarters in Abuja. Albert Otu/BJO/NAN

By Abolade Ogundimu

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has urged the media and social media users to demonstrate high responsibility in circulating information, saying “fake news-sharing is an irresponsible act’’.

Mohammed said this during the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) interview programme, Forum.

According to him, fake news about Nigeria often exploits fault lines.

“Fake news is as old as printing press; it only assumed, you know, monstrous proportion in the last couple of months or years.

“But one thing we’ve achieved today is that we’ve at least been able to bring this issue to the front burner.

“Here in Nigeria, we believe that we’d rather appeal to sense of responsibility of the practitioners.

“Fake news becomes more dangerous in Nigeria because it attempts to exploit the fault lines of the country; talking about ethnicity, talking about religion.

“And you will be amazed that even the BBC came out with a report recently that the farmers/herders clash is being fuelled largely by fake news.

“Vanguard did its own report too and concluded that the so called `under-age voting in Kano state in the last Local Government election was actually a manipulation of images.

“As we speak today, many organisations and NGOs are also conducting or holding workshops on fake news.

General platforms like Google, WhatsApp and Facebook have also realised the dangers of fake news and they have been deleting thousands and millions of fake accounts.

“As a matter of fact, we are still talking to google; they have offered to assist us in the fight against fake news,’’ Mohammed said.

The minister therefore urged the general public to always ensure credibility of their news sources and authenticity of the information being disseminated. (NAN)