FG Will Regulate Social Media, Lai Mohammed Insists

 

Lai Mohammed
Lai Mohammed

Lai Mohammed, minister of information, has also that plans by the federal government to regulate social media would go on, no matter the criticisms.

Mohammed said this at a meeting with online-news publishers in Abuja on Thursday, adding the government does not intend to impair free speech.

This comment follows several criticisms from Nigerians on the move by government to regulate social media.

The minister said that there is no such thing as stifling free speech or muzzling the media, but government is only interested in stopping fake news and hate speech which culd trigger off “national conflagration”.

“In the first instance, we have not told anyone how we plan to go about the regulation. This is because this will not be a unilateral process. It will involve all stakeholders coming together to chart the path forward,” he said.

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“Let me announce here that we have just kick-started the process. We have dispatched letters inviting representatives of the media, civil society, technology and security experts, online publishers, bloggers, relevant agencies of government, etc, for this purpose.

“In the second instance, there are many options open to us in regulating social media. Apart from enacting new laws, we can also leverage on technology, working with the big techies like Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, Instagram to check the spread of fake news and hate speech. It is therefore premature for anyone to say ‘Oh, there are enough laws already to deal with social media deviants’. In essence, the committee we plan to set up will determine the best option for us to use.

“Finally, and for the avoidance of doubt, while we welcome robust debate on this issue, the criticisms in certain quarters will not stop us from going ahead with our efforts to sanitize the social media space. It is the right thing to do in the circumstances.”

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