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We must regulate social media before it destroys us, says Lai

Valentine Chinyem



Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has called for the regulation of social media in Nigeria.

According to him, this will help curb the spread of fake news in the country, noting that failure to address this, might spell doom for the country.

Lai said this while appearing before the House Committee on Information, National Orientation, Ethics and Values, to defend the 2021 proposed budget by his ministry.

In response to questions from members of the committee, the minister said, “The biggest challenge facing Nigeria today is fake news and misinformation. Based on that, we dedicated an entire National Council on Information’s meeting to that issue, after which we launched a national campaign against fake news in July 2018.

“We said, then, that the next war will be fought without a shot being fired, but with the use of fake news. We didn’t stop there. We went on a tour of all media houses to solicit their support in the fight against fake news. We launched the campaign to regulate social media, which was bitterly contested by the stakeholders. We kept saying that if we don’t regulate social media, it will destroy us. Social media and fake news will not destroy Nigeria.

“The recent #EndSARS war was fought on social media. They mobilised using the social media. The war today revolves around two things. Smartphone and data and these young men don’t even watch television or listen to radio or read newspapers. You will be shocked that when you start arguing with your children, they will be quoting the social media. So, we need a social media policy in Nigeria and we need to empower the various agencies and we need technology to be able to regulate the social media.”

However, members of the committee, kicked against thr idea, noting that shutting social media in the country, will be seen as trying to gag freedom of speech.

Emmanuel Oghene, a member of the committee, said he is against the idea of shutting or regulating the use of social media in the country, saying doing so would be percieved by the youths, that there is an attempt to truncate democracy in the country.

He said, the positive side of social media is way more than the negative side, adding that it is wrong to always rate the negative side over the good.