Lai Mohammed Reveals Why Nigeria Must Regulate Social Media

Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed
Lai Mohammed Reveals Why Nigeria Must Regulate Social Media - Vantage News Nigeria
Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed

The Minister Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, is not giving up on his long quest to regulate the social media as he insists it will kill Nigeria if Nigeria does not kill it.

The Minister appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Information, National Orientation, Ethics and Values to defend the 2021 budget proposed by his ministry.

However, talk of regulating the social media appears to be more pressing a need to Mohammed as he went on trying to convince the reps on why it is imperative.

The House members were however not tagging along with the minister as they warned that clamping down on free speech and press freedom could be counterproductive.

Mohammed maintained that Nigeria needed to copy China in regulating social media so as to be successful as the Asian nation.

“When we went to China, we could not get google, Facebook, and Instagram,” Mohammed said before the House committee. “You could not even use your email in China because they made sure it is censored and well regulated.”

While responding to questions from members of the committee, the minister noted that the next war to be fought in the country and across the world might be fought on the social media, making reference to the ongoing #EndSARS protests.

Mohammed explained that the government was not seeking to shut down social media space in the country because “the social media has come to stay.”

But he stressed the need to have a policy that regulates social media and check fake news and misinformation.

He 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.

“We said, then, that the next war will be fought without a shot being fired, but with the use of fake news. We didn’t stop there. We went on a tour of all media houses to solicit their support in the fight against fake news. We launched the campaign to regulate social media, which was bitterly contested by the stakeholders. We kept saying that if we don’t regulate social media, it will destroy us. Social media and fake news will not destroy Nigeria.

“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. You will be shocked that when you start arguing with your children, they will be quoting the social media. So, we need a social media policy in Nigeria and we need to empower the various agencies and we need technology to be able to regulate the social media.”

However, the minister was cautioned by members of the committee.

One of the House committee members, Emmanuel Oghene, warned against any attempt to shut down the social media in the country, saying the action will be counterproductive and would make the youths to believe that there is an attempt to truncate democracy in the country.

According to Oghene, it will be wrong to always look at the negative sides of the social media at all times without mentioning the good side.

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