We’ll sanitise social media, tackle fake news — FG

The Federal Government on Tuesday said it was working towards  sanitising   the  social media space.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed,  said  this at a press conference in Abuja.

The minister spoke less than one week after Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo said he did not subscribe to  the regulation of  social media by the government.

Osinbajo spoke  during an interfaith tolerance dialogue organised by the United Arab Emirates in Abuja last week Thursday.

But Mohammed said nefarious activities on the  social media space had reached a level that the government could no longer  allow them to continue unchecked.

He said, “Since we launched our reform of the broadcast industry, many Nigerians have reached out to us, demanding that we also look into how to sanitise 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 one another 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.”

The minister assured stakeholders that the government’s intention was not to gag the media.

He said government’s  intention was to restore sanity to the nation’s airwave.

Mohammed  recalled he  inaugurated the National Campaign Against Fake News and Hate Speech in July.

He said he set up a committee on the implementation of the recommendations that were approved by the President to inject sanity into the nation’s broadcast industry, following the unprofessional and unethical conduct of some broadcast stations, especially before and during the last general elections.

The minister  added, “Since I launched the committee on the implementation of the approved measures, there have been reactions. Many have hailed our efforts at seeking to bring sanity to the airwave, while some have attacked us and accused us of trying to stifle press freedom or gag journalists.”