Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed

Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has said the Federal Government is working to sanitise the social media which it said was currently out of control.

Mohammed, at a press conference in Abuja on Tuesday, said no responsible government would sit back and not check the excesses of the internet.

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The minister said that no amount of coordinated attack would stop the government from implementing the tougher sanctions for broadcast stations that disseminate fake news.

He assured stakeholders that responsible journalists have nothing to fear as the government’s intention is not to gag the media.

He said: “Gentlemen, since we launched our reform of the broadcast industry, many Nigerians have reached out to us, demanding that we also look into how to sanitize the social media space.

“I can assure you that we are also working on how to inject sanity into the social media space which, today, is totally out of control.

“No responsible government will sit by and allow fake news and hate speech to dominate its media space, because of the capacity of this menace to exploit our national fault lines to set us against each other and trigger a national conflagration.

“That is why we will continue to evolve ways to tackle fake news and hate speech until we banish both.”

Concise News had reported that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo had said government regulation of social media is not the best way to go.

Osinbajo also called on religious leaders in Nigeria to not allow social media to be used as an instrument of war, saying it should be self-regulated.

The Vice President said this recently during an interfaith religious dialogue on promoting religious tolerance and acceptance organised by the United Arab Emirate (UAE) Embassy in Abuja.

According to him, social media should be used to promote peace, love and kindness and not hate.

Also, the government recently set up a committee to implement the recommendations on tackling hate speech and fake news.

Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed made this known during a meeting with online publishers in Lagos earlier in the month.

He called on online publishers to support the national campaign and fight the menace until both are banished.

The minister said the present government will not allow such menace to thrive in the country, adding that hate speech and fake news are the ‘Siamese twins of evil’.