As political parties prepare to commence campaigns ahead of the 2023 general election, the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has warned broadcast stations to desist from allowing their platforms used by politicians to spread fake news or hate speeches.
The Director General of NBC, Balarebe Shehu Ilelah said this during the National fact-checking course organised by the National Orientation Agency (NOA).
Ilelah said fake news and hate speech are two serious dangerous monsters that are facing the country at the moment, and if care is not taken, these two monsters are likely to truncate the country’s democracy.
“As a regulator, our responsibility is to regulate broadcast stations, to make sure that we sanitise our airwaves.
“Those broadcast stations in Nigeria that are ready to give their platforms to be used by politicians to preach hate speech and fake news are warned that 2023 is not going to be business as usual, we are going to do whatever is possible to sanitise our airwaves to make sure that Nigeria survives beyond 2023”, he said.
He commended the NOA for its effort to curb the menace of fake news, hate speech and misinformation.
Furthermore, he stated that NBC is committed to arresting the menace of fake news and hate speech by encouraging broadcasters to provide a detailed and intelligent daily account of local, national and international events in a truthful and accurate manner without distortions, exaggeration or misrepresentation.
“The continued incursion of fake news into Nigeria’s territory is largely on digital platforms, particularly social media. Many Nigerians at least have an account on one of the social networking sites, for example, WhatsApp alone has over 90 million users in Nigeria, followed by Facebook with over 40 million users and Twitter with over 30 million users.
“With this huge number of active users, Nigeria is on the verge of witnessing fake news proliferation and something has to be done.
“This is why NBC discourages fake news and hate speech because they have very negative consequences on the security of our country”, he added.
On his part, the Director-General of NOA, Dr Garba Abari said as part of the Agency’s five-year strategic plan, it is training 37,000 fact-checkers across the country to tackle fake news.
“The NOA five-year strategic plan, aware of the very difficult operating environment, the ever-changing social environment, the impact of information and the communication technology on our national lives, decided as part of that strategic plan to train 37,000 fact-checkers across the country.
“This is expected to cut across a broad spectrum of both the public and the private sectors of our national lives. The idea of training fact-checkers is actually to anticipate and plan adequately and get adequately capacitated and up our competency level in handling communication in managing the communication that we will be having and disseminating.
“The previous six courses that we have had have left actually indelible marks on all those who participated.