Fake News, Hate Speech: Nigeria’s Digital Space Needs Cleansing – Don

AREWA AGENDA – A recently elected Vice Chancellor Federal University Kashere, Gombe state, Prof. Umaru Pate on Thursday said Nigeria’s digital space needs cleansing to checkmate the spread of fake news and hate speech particularly on Social Media Platforms which is great threat to the national security and corporate existence of the country.

Prof. Pate who was represented by the Head, Department of Information and Media Studies, Dr. Nura Ibrahim spoke at the National Social Media Summit themed “Streamlining Digital Paradigm Toward Sustainable Economy, Cyber Security and National Unity in Nigeria” convened by the National Association of Information and Media Studies Students (NAIMSS) Bayero University, Kano chapter held at Mambayya House Kano.

According to him “There is need for collective action to curtail the menace of using social media to fuel hate speech and fake news”. “The social media had been used to incite people to violence hence, the dire need to educate Nigerians on the dangers hate speech, fake news and the abuses on social media pose to the peace, unity and stability of this country.’’

Also speaking at the summit, Prof. Adamu Abubakar Gwarzo, Founder/President Maryam Abacha American University of Niger who was represented by Dr. Musa Abdullahi Sufi, while presenting a paper titled: “Youth and Political Activism in a Social Media-Driven Nigeria” charged Nigerian Youths to be politically concious and engage in active politics geared towards solving the country’s political problems.
Prof. Adamu Gwarzo stress the need for social innovation and youths leadership in the country, noting that “Social Innovation coupled with the emergence of new technology will pave a way in generating innovative solutions to society’s most pressing issues”. While calling on the youths to device and fashion new approaches using the instrumentality of digital media platforms to address societal problems and collaborate with stakeholders to effect change”.

On his part, Prof. Muhammad Ajiya, President/CEO Digital Bridge Institute while speaking on the theme of the summit reinforced the importance of digital skills acquisition and adapting to a constantly changing local and global digital environment for a productive society.

Addressing the participants on the portend danger of regulating social media in Nigeria. Mal. Ali Isha, Policy Advisor to the Nigerian Global Affairs Council, said with the renewed calls and avowal for social media regulation coming from government actors, despite the African Declaration of Digital Right, it become a crystal clear that the government targets to apply the manacle and limit freedom of expression to some certain level.

Also speaking at the summit, Mal. Muhammad Rili Esq, “Enjoined the youths on the need to utilize the opportunities presented by social media which supports the democratization of knowledge and information, thereby making people to be both information producers and consumers”.
He added that “Even though the use of social media as earlier noted has positive impacts to both parties, drawbacks in the areas of misinformation, political harassment, rumors, fake news, propaganda and trolling are some of the problems that cannot be over looked noting that in order to curb the menace, the space must be policed.”

Earlier speaking, the Executive President of the Association Mr. Rabiu Musa said the initiative is aimed at complementing govt’s effort in the fight against fake news, hate speech as well as encouraging youths political participation on Nigeria’s digital spaces among others.

Arewa Agenda is a Publication of Young writers/journalist from Northern Nigeria towards Peaceful Coexistence and National Development through positive narratives

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