The United Nations has asked the Nigerian Government to adapt a supportive stance towards independent media as a means of combating fake news.
This advice goes contrary to the Nigerian Government’s policy of muscling the media through fines and threatening to regulate the social media space.
Director, United Nations Information Centre in Nigeria, Ronald Kayanja, shared his counsel at a virtual meeting to mark the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists on Monday.
“One way to fight fake news and hate speech which is pervasive through digital media is to strengthen the independent media. Just like support is being provided for other sectors of the economy, to build back a better media, the industry should also be supported,” the UN official said.
He asked the Nigerian Government to investigate all incidents of attack against the media.
Writing on her Twitter handle, the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing, said journalists should not be intimidated for seeking out the truth.
“A free press is essential for an informed citizenry. Journalists play a crucial role in holding our governments to account and preventing impunity. Journalists should never be intimidated or attacked for pursuing the truth,” she tweeted.
The Nigerian Government through the National Broadcasting commission fined three television stations for their coverage of the EndSARS protest.
Some of the country’s lawmakers, ministers and governors have at different times called for the regulation of the social media.