The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has said his ministry will this month convene a stakeholders’ meeting as part of efforts to design a framework for the sanitization of the social media.
The Minister stated this in Abuja on Monday when he received the Finnish Ambassador to Nigeria, Dr. Jyrki Pulkkinen, and the Ambassador of Innovation of the Foreign Affairs Ministry of Finland, Mr. Jarmo
Sareva, who were on an advocacy visit to promote the ideals of the Freedom Online Coalition.
He said the government’s response to the irresponsible use of the social media to promote fake news and hate speech by some unscrupulous individuals is to work with stakeholders to device a mechanism to sanitize the social media, without stifling press freedom or infringing on the rights of individuals.
“Our attempt to sanitize the social media is not at all an attempt to stifle the media and I want to make this very clear…. As we speak today, we will be meeting later in the month with leaders of the media, civil society, security and other stakeholders on how to sanitize our social media and make it safe for all.
“We, especially in this ministry, have watched with some trepidation the social media front and we have seen how some people try to abuse this platform to cause disaffection, especially by pushing fake news and hate speech,” Alhaji Mohammed is quoted in a press release signed by his Special Assistant on Information, Mr. Segun Adeyemi on Monday.
He said the government remains overwhelmingly committed to the protection of human rights, both offline and online, noting, however, that it will not shy away from ensuring that Nigeria has a responsibly free media.
The Minister said that in spite of the plurality of values, tribes, cultures and religions, the government has striven to strike a balance between press/individual freedom and national security.
“For us in Nigeria, respect for human rights is a cardinal principle of not just our constitution but of our day-to-day governance. I am yet to see any country with the kind of population we have, the kind of multi values, multi cultures and multi religions we have, that has at the same time striven to balance national security with freedom of the press.
“I make bold to say that this administration in particular has no intention and does not tamper with the freedom of speech or freedom of individuals,” he said.
In his remarks, the Finnish Ambassador to Nigeria, Dr. Pulkkinen, acknowledged that the Minister has a broad understanding of the issues surrounding the misuse of the social media, particularly in relation to the credibility of information on the platform, and urged Nigeria to partner with global bodies like the Freedom Online Coalition in
order to address some of the challenges posed by the social media.
For his part, the Ambassador of Innovation in the Foreign Affairs Ministry of Finland, Mr. Sarevo, said the Freedom Online Coalition is a group of 31 like-minded countries formed to promote human rights online and also ensure cyber security, privacy and protection of data against illegal usage and monetization and trust, with a view to
protecting all those uploading data on the internet.
Former Kenyan president Daniel Arap Moi, who ruled the country between 1978 and 2002, has died, President Uhuru Kenyatta has announced. Moi was 95.
Moi’s 24-year rule saw his country become a one-party state where critical voices were crushed, corruption became endemic and tribal divisions were stoked and turned bloody.
“It is with profound sadness that I announce the death of a great man of an African state,” Kenyatta said in a statement.
He ordered a period of national mourning until a state funeral is held, on a date not yet announced.
The former president died early Tuesday morning at his family home in Kenya’s west, Kenyatta added.
Moi fought off rivals in a bitter contest to take the top job in 1978, succeeding Kenya’s first president, Jomo Kenyatta, when he died.
One of the defining scandals of his presidency was the loss of $1 billion from the central bank through false gold and diamond exports.
A report by Britain-based risk consultant group Kroll in 2007 claimed Moi’s family and clique laundered money on a global scale, buying properties and companies in London, New York and South Africa and even a 10,000-hectare (25,000 acres) ranch in Australia.
Moi was however praised for keeping Kenya a relative haven of peace during a chaotic period in east Africa which saw the genocide in Rwanda and civil wars in Burundi and Somalia.
His later return — under significant pressure — to multiparty elections in 1992, and peaceful handover of power to opposition leader Mwai Kibaki in 2002 also won him some praise.
In recent years observers have criticised the “rehabilitation” of Moi as the elderly former president often received visits from President Kenyatta, his opposition rival Raila Odinga and any politician seeking his blessings ahead of elections.
Kenyatta revived “Moi Day” in honour of the former president in 2017, after it was scrapped in 2010.