Civil Society Groups For Good Governance (CSGGG) on Thursday in Abuja stressed the need for consistent fact checking and accuracy of all information before publishing to protect Nigeria’s unity.
The President of CSGGG, Mr Ogakwu Dominic made the call at a Social Media Roundtable on Fake News, with the theme; “the Role of Civil Society in Curbing the Menace of Fake News and Malicious Reportage, for Good Governance and National Unity’’.
Dominic described fake news as a dangerous lethal weapon that had bitten deep into the fabrics of the country, causing chaos and disrupting peace.
He noted that fake news spreads at the speed of light due to technological advancement which had accelerated information dissemination.
According to him, this menace has now become a major threat to our generation and the ones to come. It spreads like wild fire.
“Hence, it is of great importance to ensure that the vulnerable generation can ascertain what is true from what is not,’’ he said.
Dominic said that the roundtable was a fact creating avenue to identify, checkmate and proffer solutions on how to be free of fake news and the need to be factual in dissemination information.
He assured that the group would continue to champion the fight against fake news and malicious reportage across the country.
According to Dominic, he is in support of social media regulations because there is the need for rules of engagement in using the social media.
He said that the government was doing its best to curb fake news and urged citizens to also play their part.
Dominic said that the group would set up a call centre where people could verify information if confused or not sure of it.
He said that the round table would be extended to the six geo-political zones so people would be equipped with skills to fight fake news.
Prof. Ismail Junaidu , Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC) said that fake news was a serious menace worldwide and had to be tackled from the lowest level.
Junaidu said that the council was using its mandate of curriculum development to champion the fight against fake news in primary and secondary schools.
He said that the council was working on the phrase` catch them young “by inculcating issues on fake news ranging from how to identify it, to how not to partake in it among others in schools.
Prof.Angela Freeman-MiriVice-Chancellor, Federal University Lokoja said that educational institutions could promote practices that could help in addressing fake news.
Freeman-Miri, represented by Dr Sarah Yani, the University Liberian, said that effects of fake news could also be mitigated by promoting lifelong learning and discussion communities and trainings among others.
She added that research focused educational institutions were well positioned to make a difference via concerted efforts to promote further research on fake news.
“Tertiary institutions can serve as true catalysts for research-driven debates on how to transform education and research organisations to better serve our changing learning environments.”
A resource person, Mr Autine Inaede, who spoke on the role of civil society in curbing fake news and malicious reportage for good governance and national unity, said that fake news was threatening Nigeria’s unity.
Inaede said that the nation was in an era of heightened mistrust and the security situation was tensed, thus citizens needed to be careful with their actions on social media.
He called for social media literacy and public campaign to help people question more effectively what they read.
The resource person also called for the establishment of traditional and social media monitoring operations to build data based records of incidents among others.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the highpoint of the event was the inauguration of “Operation Stop Social Media Fake News Campaign’’.
Vanguard News Nigeria