The Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed has said the Federal Government has started the process of sanitizing social media.
Concise News understands that the Minister said this on Tuesday in Abuja where he noted that the development became important so as to prevent the nation from being set on fire.
“As a matter of fact,” he told NAN, “we have already put in motion the machinery for this.
“We have written letters to the major stakeholders who would nominate representatives and we are going to sit down together to decide on how best to confront this menace.”
Furthermore, he said: “We are glad about the criticism because what we set out to achieve is to bring the matter to the front burner of discourse.
“We are not under any illusion that the people will take this hook line and sinker.
“We are, however, glad that there are more people who believed that the social media poses an imminent danger to the unity of Nigeria, especially as they have become merchants of fake news and hate speech.”
This is as he noted that “Their concern largely, which is unfounded, is that it might lead to the stifling of the freedom of press or gaggling the media.
“However, we want to make it clear that it is not our intention to do this. The only people who are afraid of the decision to sanitise the social media and the airwaves are the purveyors of hate speech and fake news.
“It must be put on record that Nigeria is not the only country that is doing something about this, Germany, Egypt, Russia, India and the UK are all doing something about regulating the social media platform.”
Also, he expressed fear that the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) and other media professional bodies were kicking against the regulation of social media.
“This is amusing because they should be glad as they are the one we are protecting.
“The honest truth [sic] is that the established, well trained professional journalists do not indulge in fake news and hate speech because they have regulatory bodies already.
“The NUJ has regulatory body and Code of Conduct and they are largely not the one responsible for the dissemination of fake news and hate speech.
“I am, therefore, really surprised that such criticism is coming from them because they are the people we are protecting and they are the ones that will benefit the more from the government action.”
According to him, “We heard all kinds of threat, some even went as far as calling for the removal of the minister.
“Let me assure them that the minister is not perturbed by this and we are focused.
“No amount of intimidation, sponsored articles in any form is going to stop us from regulating social media.
“This is not just a menace to the government, many people have committed suicide because their reputation have been destroyed by social media.”