Happening Now: Honorable Minister of Information & Culture, Alh. Lai Mohammed addresses the Media in Abuja on developments in the Ministry’s campaign against #FakeNews & #HateSpeech

- As usual, let me start by thanking you, gentlemen, for always responding to our invitation, and for your usually-reliable reports after our briefings.
- Today's briefing, as you would imagine, is on the #NationalCampaignFakesNews and #HateSpeech, which we launched last July.
Within the context of that campaign, I recently launched an effort to rid our airwaves of #fakenews and #hatespeech.
Specifically, I set up committee on the implementation of the recommendations that were approved by Mr. President to inject sanity into the nation's broadcast industry,
following the unprofessional and unethical conduct of some broadcast stations, especially before and during the last general elections.
- The highlights of the recommendations are as follows:
i) Independence of the NBC from political interference in the exercise of its regulatory powers, particularly with respect to the issuance and withdrawal of broadcasting license.
ii) A review of the National Broadcasting Code and extant broadcasting laws to reflect the following amendments;
- Upward review of fines from N500,000 to N5,000,000 for breaches relating to hate speeches, inciting comments and indecency
- Wilful repeat of infractions on three occasions after levying fine on a station to attract suspension of license
- Upgrade of breach of political comments relating to hate speeches and divisive comments to ''Class A'' offence in the Broadcasting Code.
- Amendment of the NBC Act to enable @nbcgovng license WebTv and radio stations.
iii) Recruitment of more monitoring staff for the NBC. At the moment, there are only about 200 Staff monitoring about 1,000 radio and
television stations.
iv) Deployment of adequate monitoring equipment and technologies for the NBC and, finally....
v) Enhancement of welfare packages of NBC staff to avoid their compromise in the line of duty
- Gentlemen, the committee is also saddled with ending all forms of monopoly detrimental to the actualization of the immense potential of the broadcast industry.
A situation where a few people corner a chunk of the industry to the detriment of others, especially our teeming and talented youths, is totally unacceptable and untenable.
- Once the committee submits its report, we will immediately kick-start the implementation of the approved measures to inject sanity into our broadcast industry.
- Since I launched the committee on the implementation of the approved measures, there have been reactions. Many have hailed our efforts at seeking to bring sanity to the airwaves, while some have attacked us and accused us of trying to stifle press freedom or gag journalists.
- In the first instance, let me say this. No amount of attacks, sponsored or otherwise, will stop the implementation of the approved recommendations.
And only non-patriots and anarchists will kick against measures aimed at putting an end to #fakenews and #hatespeech, especially in our broadcast industry.
- But, as I have been saying, we have no intention of stifling free speech or gagging journalists or anyone. Again, this Administration has no intention of muzzling the media or stifling free speech. Our campaign is against #fakenews and #hatespeech.
However, if you engage in disseminating #fakenews or #hatespeech, you need to be worried, because we will not spare you.
We cannot allow #fakenews and #hatespeech to become free speech, because these Siamese Twins of Evil are capable of inflicting untold damage on our democracy and threatening our national unity. They represent a clear and imminent danger to our survival as a nation.
- As for monopolies, they stunt growth, kill talents and discourage creativity. The clearest example of the creative energy that can be unleashed when monopoly is totally broken can be seen in the telecommunications industry.
Of course, the broadcast industry has also been liberalised. But any vestige of monopoly is antithetical to the liberalisation of the broadcast industry and must be dismantled.
In the case of Nigeria, it's the monopoly of content that breeds anti-competition practices.
- Gentlemen, since we launched our reform of the broadcast industry, many Nigerians have reached out to us, demanding that we also look into how to sanitize the #SocialMedia space.
I can assure you that we are also working on how to inject sanity into the Social Media space which, today, is totally out of control
- No responsible government will sit by and allow #fakenews and #hatespeech to dominate its media space, because of the capacity of this menace to exploit our national fault lines to set us against each other and trigger a national conflagration.
That is why we will continue to evolve ways to tackle fake news and hate speech until we banish both.

Therefore, Gentlemen, we once again seek your support for our efforts to banish fake news and hate speech from our media space.

I thank you for your kind attention.

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