The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has stated that the resolve of the government to regulate social media is not to hamper freedom of expression or gag public discourse as alleged. Rather, it is to prevent its abuse and negative consequences.
The minister was represented by the Director, International Cultural Relations, Memunat Idu-Lah, at the annual Roundtable on Cultural Orientation organised by the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO) in Owerri, Imo State.
During the roundtable, he said, “The phenomenon of hate speech, fake news, and other forms of criminality which feature regularly on the social media have the potential to harm the nation’s security, national unity and our overall national interest.”
Also present at the event were the Chairman, Senate Committee on Culture and Tourism, Rochas Okorocha, and other stakeholders who argued that the absence of a law regulating social media poses a serious threat to national security.
The stakeholders maintained that the regulation of social media contents would help to defeat illegal activities and other inherent hazards on social media.
However, the NICO Acting Executive Secretary, Louis Eriomala, expressed concerns over the negative impact of the media on youths' cultural values. “while we appreciate the enormous benefits to be derived from responsibly using the Internet and social media, we are deeply concerned about the negative consequences of its misuse on our culture and the future of our youths." He said.