We must make laws to curb fake news, save democracy, says Oyo Deputy Speaker, Fadeyi
Deputy Speaker of Oyo State House of Assembly, Abiodun Mohammed Fadeyi, has called for laws that will curb fake news and regulate social media so as to save lives, as well as Nigeria’s democracy.
Fadeyi, who is a journalist, made the call while speaking with The Guardian in Ibadan, Oyo State capital recently.
The lawmaker, who represents Ona Ara State Constituency, said traditional media still maintains professionalism, which has reduced the growth of fake news.
While saying that fake news emanates from social media platforms, the deputy Speaker noted that in conventional or traditional media, “when you are doing a story, you try to balance it. You must confirm your story before reporting it. I remember when I was growing up, every morning, I would pick up national dailies, and read them from front to back, even to the cartoon section, advert pages, vacancy, job interview pages, obituaries, and others. There were different sections in the newspaper and you get informed, entertained, and educated on the pages of the newspapers, all these you don’t get on social media.
“Today, what you get from social media is usually not confirmed, balanced nor objective. The bloggers or citizen journalists just report a story, which may be fake at the end of the day,” he said.
He continued: “You saw what happened during #EndSARS protests. Social media contributed to the damage. We have seen an instance of a young lady who was alleged to have been kidnapped for ransom; this lady lives in England and people were collecting money on social media only for her to come out to say nobody kidnapped her.
“Unfortunately, this misinformation, has, somehow, become part of us. Some will prefer to believe in some of this fake news than the real one.
“Some countries are legislating against fake news. If some countries are doing it, there is nothing wrong with us doing that. But we have to be careful with that because there is a need for proper orientation before that legislation can take effect.
“Though social media is okay, it has its advantages and disadvantages, what is important is to balance it. This is where legislation comes in because you need to regulate it.
“For instance, in the parliament, there are some house rules that control the proceedings and behaviour of parliamentarians. Even in the family, there are rules and regulations. Where there are no rules, there will be commotion. I think that is what is happening currently. But when there are regulations that guide it, people will be doing their normal business and they will make money from it and a whole lot of other things get informed.
“We need to regulate it to save ourselves, to save our society, democracy, and our family,” he said.
He, therefore, urged members of the National Assembly to work on laws that would curb fake news and misuse of social media, adding that such laws must have a human face by considering all factors that would be in the interest of the ordinary citizen.