The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), has called on Nigerians to be mindful of fake news; noting that it is capable of inciting and instigating hatred, resentment, anger, hostility, and enmity among them.
The Director-General of NBC, Malam Balarabe Ilelah, gave the advice on Tuesday, September 6, 2022.
He spoke at the National Fact-Checking Course, organised by the National Orientation Agency (NOA) in Abuja.
Ilelah said, “It is quite apt to say that Nigerians must always be mindful of fake news…This may consequently, lead to disunity, disaffection, violence and sometimes war.
“That is why the NBC is committed to arresting the menace by encouraging broadcasters to provide the detailed and intelligent daily account of local, national and international events in a truthful and accurate manner without distortions, exaggerations or misrepresentations.
“The commission has categorically discouraged any form of fake news and any such breach is sanctioned instantly.’’
Furthermore, the NBC chief commended NOA for its commitment; especially on the training of fact-checkers who were drawn from military, para-military and other agencies.
In his remark, Mr. Kashifu Abdullahi, the Director-General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), said that the agency was tasked with the responsibility of developing a Code of Practice for online platforms.
Abdullahi was represented by the Manager, Digital Architect, Digital Literacy and Capacity Development, NITDA, Malam Bashiru Ibrahim.
Specifically, he said that the idea was in line with the Federal Government’s efforts to make the digital ecosystem safer for Nigerians. According to NITDA chief, one of the requirements under the code was that platforms shall engage the services of certified fact-checker; particularly to counteract information targeted to disinform or misinform Nigerians, especially during election periods.
“The fact-checking requirement serves an opportunity to grow the fact-checking industry in Nigeria.
“NITDA will like to urge indigenous fact-checkers to secure certification from the International fact-checking Network to enable them maximise the benefits of this industry,’’ he said.
The Director-General of NOA, Dr Garba Abari said that fact-checking training was part of five-year strategic plan of the agency; adding that this is aimed at enhancing competence of 37,000 Nigerians across the country.
According to him, the training also aimed at producing fact-checkers who would verify any information; especially those of capable of causing social and political destruction as the 2023 General Elections approach.