The Director-General, Voice of Nigeria, (VON), Mr Osita Okechukwu, has called on mainstream media organisations in the country to establish ‘Social Media Desks’ that would track and counter fake news disseminated on social fora.
Okechukwu made the call at the 47th meeting of the National Council on Information holding in Kaduna, with the theme: ‘Tackling Fake News And Hate Speech To Enhance Peace and National Unity.”
Represented by the Executive Director News, Ahaziah Suleiman, Okechukwu claimed that most of the people who spread fake news on social media were trained journalists.
“The issue of fake news is not strange to us and it depends on which part of the world one is.
“In some countries, the space cannot be guarded, but in Nigeria, we can start by tracking and countering fake news,” he said.
Okechukwu suggested that/the only way to counter and correct fake news should be by monitoring it, “otherwise, one day, Nigeria would be in chaos.”
He also called on the conventional media to carry out enlightenment and react very fast and quick, and not wait for news hours to react to issues on social media.
The VON boss also called on government to fund media organisations in order to build their capacities for them to.compete against those publishing fake news.
“For instance in my agency, a lot of embassies call or check our website to confirm news because of our robust attitude toward disseminating authentic news online,” he said.
Okechukwu’s counterpart at Radio Nigeria, Mansur Liman lamented that people who claimed to practice journalism did so without really going through the training.
”People who publish hate speeches and fake news don’t have journalism training.
“They just sit in their homes and write statements which cause tension and conflicts in the country.
“Traditional media have ethics and house styles that guide them on news writing,” Liman said.
On his part, the Director-General, NTA, Yakubu Ibn Muhammed stressed that all news must be verified and filtered before dissemination.
“The reason nations faced war is as a result of fake news. Its always better to discard information that we are not sure of.
“We need to be cautious on what we publish on social media to avoid chaos in the country,” he said.
Contributing the Director-General of the National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC), Modibo Kawu, said contents in the social media if not properly managed could generate problems in the society.
He said NBC always monitored broadcasting industries to make sure they abide by the codes of broadcasting.