‘Fake news mongers distracting military from security target’
Centre for Social Justice, Equity and Transparency (CESJET) believes that certain individuals and groups are jeopardising the efforts of the military towards securing lives and property of Nigerians.
In a special report, ‘Impact of Fake News on the War Against Terrorism and Implication for National Security’, delivered at a workshop yesterday in Abuja by the executive secretary, Isaac Ikpa, CESJET frowned upon fake news merchants misleading the public.
“The use of social media and other media sources contributes in part to the premature categorisation of certain events and creating unnecessary hype.
“The use of language, labelling, coupled with unsubstantiated or grossly inaccurate facts before an event, can result in misinformation and heighten the public fear unnecessarily,” it stated.
A more careful assessment of facts will limit the media publicity of known terrorist groups, the centre added. However, to drastically curb the menace of fake news, it recommended: “Communicating accurate information and minimising the spread of rumours and conspiracy theories is vital to supporting the public in time of crisis. News media outlets and social media platforms should play complementary roles in this process: news media must try to ensure that correct information is disseminated, and social media platforms should be more vigilant in preventing bots and propagandists from flooding online platforms with misinformation.
“The role of independent, nuanced and responsible journalism has never been more important – and yet there’s a growing distrust of mainstream media’s reporting on terror.”
This stems from Trumpian rhetoric and accusations of fake news, as well as from public perceptions of media bias when reporting on attacks.”
CESJET stressed the importance of vigilance on the part of security experts.“The reduction of misinformation and the accurate use of terrorist terminology relating to events, foiled plots and threats will not detract from the overall objective of public protection, but will strengthen and focus on this goal.
“Clear information and a common focus on ensuring that accurate information is disseminated can be complemented by the accurate and honest acknowledgement of the real threat and due recognition of the excellent job the security industry has done to date to abate attacks and minimise the potential for future events.”
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