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Fake News : Centre  advocates investments journalism, technology companies’ regulation

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Ms Idayat Hassan, the Executive Director, Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD),  has solicited more support and investments in journalism to curb fake news.

He said that this would also address disinformation and misinformation by regulating the activities of technology companies.

Hassan said this at the ongoing two-day conference on “Compacting Misinformation and Disinformation in Nigeria’’, organised by the centre on Wednesday in Abuja .

Presenting a paper entitled “Towards the Future, Building Digital Literacy in Nigeria’’, the executive director cautioned the Federal Government against regulating the cyberspace as it might end up muscling free speech.

“I think what government should be doing is regulating tech companies.

 “We need a framework and system where we can get the tech companies to start demoting flagged contents immediately,” he said.

Hassan said thatvthere was need for government to work with tech companies to remove such suspicious contentsas being done in Germany.

The director also advised  the Federal Government to  carefully study the ecosystem before contemplating  to regulate cyberspace.

She stressed the need for Nigerians to report flagged contents to technology companies as well as fact-check information before sharing.

Hassan also called for sensitisation of people to the influence or impacts of social media and disinformation on their lives and the nation.

The director called for more investment in fact-checking initiatives that worked in local languages to ensure that  correct information reached the grassroots.

Former Minister of Education, Dr Oby Ezekwesili, who served as Chairperson in one of the  discussion panels, described disinformation and misinformation as a deliberate act of sending falsehood in place of genuine facts.

Ezekwesili stressed the  need to pay  adequate attention to disinformation as it could undermine the development of the people and the entire  country.

Mr Khalil Halilu, a representative of a non-governmental organisation known as  “CWCD Africa”, stressed the need for automated data collection and rating of media outlets.

“We see how review has greatly changed dynamism in the e-world. Once we start to have rating system for media outlets and influential persons, that will go a long way to make people more conscious of what they send out,” he said.

Mr Abdullahi Mohammed,  the Director of National Orientation Agency (NOA) in Kogi, said that agency was looking at the way forward in stemming disinformation, especially  in the rural areas.

Mohammed said that the agency  already had authentication platform that helped people to crosscheck the authenticity of a piece of  information.

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