Gov. AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of Kwara has urged the media in Nigeria to fight the menace of fake news before it brings down the country.
AbdulRasaq made this call in Ilorin on Wednesday during the 2020 Press Week of the Correspondents’ Chapel of the Kwara council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ).
The governor, represented by the state Commissioner for Communications, Mrs Harriet Afolabi-Oshartimehin, said that the events of the past weeks in the country had shown the danger of fake news and unverified or one-sided accounts of events.
This, he said, almost brought down the country, as hoodlums descended on various public and private facilities.
“That the media was not spared in the melee underscores that fact that fake news and its purveyors constitute existential threats to everyone.
“There is, therefore, the need for all of us to tackle this threat before it is too late”, he said.
The governor condemned, in its entirety, the attacks on the media in some parts of the country, particularly during the recent #ENDSARS protests.
He said that nothing could justify the violent attacks on the media, which had been doing a lot, not only to deepen the country’s democracy but also, to ensure that balanced and verified accounts of events in this era of fake news and half truth were addressed.
AbdulRasaq expressed his administration’s commitment to further encouraging the media to continue to uphold the ethics of the profession, which include balance, fairness, and truth.
“I also urge you to remain committed to national cohesion and security.
“This adherence to the ethics of the noble profession is what sets you apart from emergency journalists on the social media who have no regard for the truth.
“Suddenly, we are having an army of people who regard their own opinions as final on any issue, as anyone who disagrees with their opinions must be mobbed or taken down at all cost.
“This is akin to fascism and must be stopped before it is too late. Democracy recognises multiplicity of opinions and the right of every citizen to hold contrary view, without being haunted for it.
“I, therefore, urge the media to join the campaign to discourage this new threat to democracy and free speech,” the governor said.