I fraternize with the media on the big information blackout in Nigeria as they protest some bills: “The controversial bills … give the President the right to appoint the Chairman of the Board of the Nigerian Press Council (NPC)”. Freedom of speech is a critical component for our democracy. So, any attempt to diminish it must be vigorously opposed in our society.
Yet, besides the blackout, it is time for all stakeholders in Nigeria to open a new playbook on how to deal with fake news. And even the government needs help; some samples:
- 1.) The Kenya government has threatened the Nigerian government for abducting Nnamdi Kanu
- 2) Chimamanda Adichie has praised Kanu
- 3) APC has suspended Rochas Okorocha.
- 4) Senator Enyi Abaribe has dressed down Senator Orji Uzor Kalu.
You know what? Those messages were fake but were produced with such quality that many believed! For Senator Abaribe’s one, I believed it, before he sent a message in WhatsApp that it was fake! The Okorocha one was “original” before it turned out to be fake.
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So, how can a society thrive in a system where people can sit at home and fake political, policy, etc statements and attribute them to governments and individuals? If we do not have a solution to “fake news”, our future as a nation may be imperiled.
Yes, there needs to be consequences to fake news. It is getting out of hand in Nigeria. So, as the media goes on information blackout, I also want them to find how we can blackout the information we do not want. Media, I come to you because I do not think the government has any capacity to sort this out.
Nigerians who love to get their news from print newspapers woke up on Monday morning to see front pages of their dailies with a picture of a human with a caged mouth.
This action is based on a message from the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) and Newspaper Proprietors’ Association of Nigeria (NPAN) about the adverse effects of the controversial media bills in the national assembly.
The controversial bills are the Nigerian broadcasting Commission (NBC) and the Nigerian Press Council (NPC) Act amendment bills, the latter of which gives the President the right to appoint the Chairman of the Board of the Nigerian Press Council (NPC). Also, all other members of the board shall be appointed by the president on the recommendation of the Minister of Information.
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