By Joshua Olomu
Educators and other stakeholders have called for sustained citizens enlightenment by relevant authorities to curb the spreading of hate contents on social media platforms.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the stakeholders, who constitute a panel of conversation made the call on Tuesday at a “Safer Internet Month” workshop in Makurdi, Benue.
The event was organised by the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) for youths in Benue from Feb. 11 to Feb. 12 at the Benue State University, Makurdi.
According to the stakeholders, since the new media is easily accessible by everyone, there is need for a sustained enlightenment against the dangers of generating and sharing fake news and provocative motion pictures.
Discussing the topic: “Social Harm Caused by Film Content and Solution”, the panelists noted that many crises in the country were reactions to fake news and hate speeches spread on the social media.
Prof. Armstrong Idiachaba said “some people collect photos of what happened in Rwanda and other parts of Africa, and then distribute them as what happened in Nigeria, which instigates crisis.’’
“This is why education and enlightenment is necessary for people not to share whatever they see on the internet.
“Even our political actors should be careful and cautious with statements they issue and spread on social media to avoid public misinformation and incitement.”
Prof. John Illah of the Department of Theatre Arts, University of Jos, urged that Nigerians, especially youths needed to be reminded always that there was need to verify the source of a story before sharing.
“If something is sent to you, you should verify the source to ascertain if is fake or not.
“Our people should be told that there should be none-hateful ways of expressing grievances because any spread of falsehood is a potential threat to law, peace and order.”
Illah noted that fake news and images were politically motivated to smear political opponents, especially as the general elections approach.
Prof. Musa Dauda, a Don at the Federal University, Lafia, called on filmmakers and those who stream visual contents on social media to use such to model character education.
“Our films should promote resourcefulness, integrity, peace and love for neighbour.
Mr Adedayo Thomas, the Executive Director of the NFVCB, explained that since youths constitute the highest number of internet users, there was need to educate them against generating and sharing provocative contents.
“We must urge our young people to shun the spreading of contents that are threats to national peace and co-existence.
“The conference is borne out of the need for NFVCB, both as an industry and a decision maker to build the capacity of the youths who are mostly the users of the internet.
“We want them to promote positive contents and avoid sharing hate speeches on WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms, especially during and after the 2019 general elections,” he said.
The two-day event with the theme: “Together for a Better Internet for Peace and Economic Development”, had in attendance students, youths, civil society groups and members of the academia.