Youth Minister, Dare makes case for social media regulation
The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, on Monday said in a situation fake news had been destroying lives that it was the responsibility of the government to adopt measures to control it.
According to Dare, what happened on social media during the recent #EndSARS protestsbrought home the dangers of fake news.
The Minister spoke during an interview on Channels Television breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily.
He said, “The protests brought home the dangers of fake news. Several months back, Nobel Laureate Winner, Professor Wole Soyinka said fake news is like the bomb that can destroy the world and it is sure that the bomb will come from Nigeria.
“What happened during the protests has been reviewed to a certain extent. We have seen debunking of several of the stories of deaths that came up.
“Everyone is worried about the negative impacts of fake news.”
Noting that the dangers of fake news was not peculiar with Nigeria alone but a problem in many other countries, he said that the National Assembly would do justice to the proposed regulation of social media so that they menace could be checkmated.
Dare said, “The talk around regulation, of course, we have a National Assembly, it will have to go through the normal process. We have a constitution, they will have to make sure it does not violate certain provisions of the constitution that has to do with freedom of expression.
“Where you have fake news destroying lives, the government has a responsibility to make sure that there is a level of control. It is not censorship but some level of control.”
On the usefulness of social media he said, “Everyone one of us benefits from the internet. The fact that our youths used it to mobilise is commendable.
“But the talk about the regulation of social media has been around for a while. We’ve seen other countries taking practical steps in that direction, this country has not done that.
“Even during the #EndSARS protests, the country had an option. The country never went for that final option.”
The minister said that the government’s refusal to shut down cyberspace even when it had powers to do during the EndSARS protest, helped people to connect through social media platforms.
He said the Muhammadu Buhari’s government decision not to shut down the social media during that protest showed the current administration’s committed to the rights of freedom and association of every citizen of this country.