The Federal Government has warned that Nigeria is sitting on a keg of gunpowder if the issue of fake news is not urgently addressed, insisting on regulation of the social media in the country.

The House of Representatives Committee on Information, National Orientation, Ethics and Values, however, warned against clamping down on free speech and press freedom.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, while appearing before the committee to defend the 2021 budget proposed by his ministry, noted that the next war to be fought in the country and across the world might be t the social media.

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The Minister said, “The biggest challenge facing Nigeria today is fake news and misinformation. Based on that, we dedicated an entire National Council on Information’s meeting to that issue, after which we launched a national campaign against fake news in July 2018.

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“The recent #EndSARS war was fought on social media. They mobilised using the social media. The war today revolves around two things. Smartphone and data and these young men don’t even watch television or listen to radio or read newspapers.”

A member, Emmanuel Oghene, however, warned against any attempt to shut down the social media in the country, saying the action will be counter-productive.

The Chairman of the committee, Olusegun Odebunmi, urged the Nigerian government to apply a technology that can regulate the social media and still allow the cyber space in the country to work.

SOURCE: The PUNCH Newspaper

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