Fake News: Social Media Must Be Regulated – Keyamo, Others Declare

Nigeria’s minister of state for Labour and Employment, Barrister Festus Keyamo, SAN, has highlighted part of the ways in which fake news could be averted.

The minister through his special adviser, Niyi Fatogun, spoke in a media workshop on ‘Balancing Ethics and Patriotism: the obligations of journalists to their country’, organised by the Coalition for Good Governance and Economic Justice in Africa.

Keyamo acknowledged that although social media has come to stay in the country, there must be laws put in place to regulate and sanitise the system.

The veteran lawyer said to kill fake news, which according to him, can destroy the fabric of the country, fake social media accounts must first be killed.

The minister also said that laws must be put in place that illegalise fake news.

“Social media has come to stay. Gone are those days when we used to beg editors or be at their mercy to get your views out there,” when an editor decides which story to put there and which story to ignore.

“Today everyone puts their thoughts out uncensored which is a very good thing.

“It is good for mankind. However, we also know that it comes with its own problems.

“We must make sure we don’t kill the good because of the bad. So the best [we can do] is to support the good and mitigate against the bad and ugly.

“Before it was very possible to hold people accountable for fake news. Media houses had professionals who were very responsible…today we have the social media, and the gate keepers have become more or less sidelined, so what do we do to mitigate against the bad and ugly?

Addressing journalists, convener of the workshop, John Mayak, who is the Country Director, Coalition for Good Governance and Economic Justice in Africa, said that the best and easiest way to tackle fake news is self regulation.

He said that there should be both government and self regulation to fight fake news, calling for laws to be established to regulate how people use social media, just like it is in China and other developed countries.

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