News Investigators/ Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami has expressed concern over the spate of fake news and disinformation in Nigeria, saying the trend is affecting the global perception of the country negatively and curtailing investment and growth.
Mr. Pantami said publishing unverified information about Nigeria by Nigerian is regrettable and should be discontinued.
The minister stated this on Tuesday in Abuja at a ministerial panel of the on-going UNESCO Media and Information Literacy Week.
Speaking on the topic, “National Media and Information Literacy Frameworks, Sustaining Beyond Disinformation,” Mr Pantami said the advent of new media had aggravated growing trend of misinformation and fake news and perception of media globally.
According to him, with new media, everyone has become a journalist while people will sit at the comfort of their homes and concoct whatever they wish, without editorial review or verification and dish it out for public consumption.
The minister said it was unfortunate that people lived in a world where negative news spread like wildfire and being consumed voraciously.
The minister gave the example of a recent development where the United States Mission in Nigeria issued a security alert over the risk of terror attacks in Nigeria.
He said without verification or considering the negative effects of such alert, both traditional and online media circulated the information freely.
“Most of the schools yesterday were shut down but we are grateful to the Almighty God, nothing happened.
“This type of unverified information has its dire implication on the economic development of our country as well as its perception globally,” he said.
Mr Pantami cautioned that the developed countries that were issuing the unverified security alerts had their own challenge of security, including school shootings but they managed it effectively.
in addressing the challenge, the minister recommended societal reorientation that would focus more on self regulation.
He said journalists must also wake up to their responsibilities and understand that they practised a noble profession that operated with fairness and objectivity.
The minister added that the way and manner people behaved and communicated offline should be reflected in the way they behaved and communicated online.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, Minister of state for Education, Goodluck Opiah, made presentation at the event while the UK Minister of Tech and Digital Economy, Damian Collins participated virtually.