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Only good governance can curb fake news, hate-speeches, say communication experts

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Communication experts from the academia and the news organisations have tasked governments, particularly the Federal Government, to strictly focus more on delivering good governance marked by adhering to social justice, equity, accountability, political, cultural and economic inclusion and the tenets of democracy to eliminate the incidence of fake news and hate-speeches.

These were some of the submissions of participants at a two-day conference of Association of Communication Scholars and Professionals of Nigeria (ACSPN) in Asaba, Delta State, which ended yesterday.

Those who spoke include Publisher of Premium Times, Mr. Dapo Olorunyomi; prominent communication scholar and President of ACSPN, Prof. Lai Oso; Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, represented by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Charles Aniagwu and former Minister of Information and chairman of the conference, Prof. Sam Oyovbare.

Specifically, they advised the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, to desist from insisting that Nigerian journalists are pre-occupied with disseminating fake news or disinformation, insisting that there was no basis for such argument.

They also said that the spectre of fake news should be traced, not to the legacy or traditional media, but to the pervasive and technologically-inspired social media that does not have gate-keepers and has no knowledge of the ethics of journalism or how to apply them.

While Olorunyomi stated that what we have is a crisis of truth in the country to which we need all hands on the deck to resolve it for the progress of our community, Oso, however, pointed at the borderless technology of social media that has made journalism an unsecure environment.

Okowa, who traced the origin of hate-speech to lack of patriotic spirit, failure of government’s institutions and government’s agenda that do not align with the people’s wishes, tasked the media to be independent-minded and not propagate dubious agenda that will imperil its integrity.

Oyovbare said technology had stood the old rules on their heads, as it is now impossible to “control the tools of disseminating news these days.

“You can’t control what you consume. Fake news and hate speech have become an industry of their own that are self-sustaining.”


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