lai Mohammed)
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Media regulation: FG has no plan to stifle free speech –Mohammed

Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, yesterday said the Federal Government does not have the intention of stifling free speech in the country by demanding the regulation of social media.

The aim, he stated, is to ensure that social media is used in a responsible manner by the operators. Mohammed at a stakeholders meeting with members of Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON), said fake news and disinformation are not the same as free speech.

He said: “This government has no plan to stifle free speech, neither do we have any intention of shutting down the internet. Social media has come to stay, and those who use it responsibly have nothing to fear. But we cannot give the same assurance to those, who weaponise social media.” According to him, the issue of regulating social media content is generating debate around the world, and Nigeria cannot an exception. He expressed regret that the use of unverified videos, and the non-adherence to the basic tenets of journalism have combined to land an international broadcaster, CNN, in trouble. Mohammed stated that CNN relied heavily on videos it took from social media for its supposed exclusive investigation on the shooting incident at the Lekki Toll Gate on October 20th. He added: “After tweeting, without a shred of evidence, from its verified handle on Oct. 23rd that soldiers killed 38 peaceful protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate on Oct. 20th, the same station now said only one person was killed, after a month of its investigation. What an embarrassment! “It is baffling that an organisation like CNN will rely on unauthenticated videos to carry out an investigation. More worrisome is that an international broadcaster like CNN will switch casualty figures so casually without a credible source.

 

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