Speakers at a two day workshop tagged “Broadcast Ecology and Politics in Nigeria” put together by the National Broadcasting Commission, NBC in Lagos have suggested that NBC as a regulatory body should use more of educative and preventive measures in curtailing the spread of fake news and hate speeches rather than punitive measures or sanctions.
Also the traditional media should wake up to it’s responsibility of ensuring truthful, objective and accurate reportage to dampen the wide spread of fakenews and hate speeches which have become more pervasive with the emergence of social media.
The 2015 and 2019 general elections in Nigeria witnessed an upsurge in the use of fake news and hate speeches.
Given the negative implications on the country’s democracy, security as well as economic sabotage, curtailing the spread of fake news and hate speeches has become more imperative as the country move towards another round of electoral campaigns in 2023.
Reviewing a Report on the Escalation of Hate and Dangerous Speech in 2015 General Elections, A former Director General of The Nigerian Television Authority, NTA, Professor Tony Iredia who stressed the important role of the media in educating and informing the masses charged NBC to adopt more of enlightenment measures rather than sanctions.
The first female professor in Mass communication in Nigeria, Professor Stella Okunna who reviewed “” Media Coverage of 2019 General Elections”” decried the influence of ownership and advertisers on the traditional media and called for caution.
She said influence of ownership does more harm than good in the area of objectivity of a news story as well as advertisers influence on commercially oriented media organisations.
The Director General of the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, Dr Mansur Liman advised that principles of journalism should be strictly adhered to pointing out that frcn will not relent on its role of educating and informing the masses and accurate reportage of news events
Dr Liman noted that given what happened in the last few years there is need for outmost carefulness pointing out that the review of 2015 and 2019 general elections would give the media more insight on how to do it better in 2023.
In a keynote presentation, the Chairman Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC Mr Abdulrasheed Bawa who was represented by a director in the commission Mr Osita Nwaja listed the negative implication of fake news on the economy and also highlighted the legal sanctions.
Mr Nwaja said fake news has resulted to so many economic sabotage and if not curtailed may cause more serious damage to the country.
In a presentation, the Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, Lagos Mr Olusegun Agbaje who listed the activities and steps being taken the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC to ensure successful elections, added that introduction of new technologies will reduce cases of identity theft and real time monitoring of election results.
In a message the minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Muhammed who was represented by the registrar/chief executive officer of the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON). Mr Olalekan Fadolapo emphasized the need to curtail fakenews and hate speeches given the negative impact on the country’s democracy.
Earlier in an opening remark the Director General of NBC Mr Balarabe Ilelah, said while the workshop is expected to add value to the NBC code the commission is developing a legal frame work that will address some the issues.
Mr Ilela described the growing level of fake news and hate speech particularly during electioneering campaigns as a threat to National Security and economy, hence the need for review of Report on the Escalation of Hate and Dangerous speech in 2015 General Elections and Review of Media Coverage of 2019 general electiors for improved coverage and curtailing of fakenews and hate speeches.
High point the workshop which is being attended by representatives from federal government ministries and agencies was formal presentation of Research Report on the Escalation of Hate and Dangerous Speech in 2015 General Electionns and Review of Media Coverage Of 2019 general electiors which was performed by the Director General of Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, Dr Mansur Liman.
Cov/ Chioma Ezike