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No Going Back On Social Media Regulation – Lai Mohammed

Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed to regulate social media

Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed has stated that the Federal Government will not reverse its plan to regulate social media.

Mohammed, who revealed this to in an interview with an international news platform, weeks after he denied that a bill existed regarding the regulation of social media. He also said that the his ministry has already made contacts with two major platforms, namely Facebook and Google.

He told newsmen in Abuja on Thursday, February 20th, 2020, that the Government’s objective is to make sure that no damage is done to the country via social media.

We are pushing ahead with our plan to sanitize the social media, working with stakeholders. By March 2, 2020, we will inaugurate a stakeholders committee that will deliberate and recommend the way forward.

We are also planning a major international conference that will bring together the tech companies, media practitioners, policy makers and others as part of efforts to tackle this growing canker-worm

Last week, I met with representatives of Google and Facebook for the same purpose. The situation is dire, and no nation that values its peace, security and stability will allow an irresponsible use of the social media.

There has been a spike in the dissemination of fake news and the use of disinformation in recent times. This is not accidental: Fake news, disinformation and hate speech have become the weapons of choice to create tension in the polity and destabilise the country.

And those behind them, the naysayers, are not about to relent. Those behind this campaign of fake news and disinformation have also deployed new tactics, top of which is the recycling old news items and videos.

For some people, the 2019 elections are not over. They are stuck in the pre-election mode. And they must continue to use these weapons to put Nigeria on edge.

The minister also disclosed plans of floating a new “communication regulations” which would record all calls, monitor WhatsApp, Twitter and Facebook.

Another good example is the video of the over 400 young men suspected to be Boko Haram members who were intercepted in Abia State in 2014.

About two weeks ago, the video came back into circulation, creating panic in the polity. The intention of those behind it is simple: to create tension and panic in the country.

Mohammed pointed out some fake news he claimed were circulated via social media and they include:

President Buhari will be travelling to the United Kingdom for 20 days before proceeding to Saudi Arabia and Austria; Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi was attacked at Rigasa train station in Kaduna and that the Nigerian Air Force killed 250 Boko Haram insurgents.

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