The Honourabe Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has disclosed that government is working closely with relevant stakeholders to determine the best option for regulating social media usage in the country.
He stated this on Thursday, December 19th, 2019 in Owerri at the opening ceremony of the Annual Roundtable on Cultural Orientation (ARTCO), organized by the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO) at Rockview Hotel, Owerri, Imo State with the theme: “Youths, Social Media and Cultural Development in Nigeria”.
Represented by the Director, International Cultural Relations in the ministry, Mrs. Memunat Idu-lah, the Minister who explained that government’s decision to regulate the social media is not intended to impede freedom of expression, reiterated that government’s decision is in tandem with global best practices.
In his words “The phenomenon of hate speech, fake news and other forms of criminality which features regularly on the social media have the potential to harm the nation’s security, national unity and our overall national interest”.
“The resolve of government to regulate the platform is not designed to hamper freedom of expression or gag public discourse as being alleged, rather, it is to prevent its abuse and the negative consequences. Most countries including the advanced democracies are adopting one form of regulation or another”, he said.
Speaking earlier, the Acting Executive Secretary of NICO, Mr. Louis Eriomala said NICO as an Institute is in full support of the regulation of the social media as its misuse can have negative toll on our culture and the future of our youths.
According to him, the myriad of challenges confronting the nation today are as a result of cultural disconnect and disorientation and can only be tackled, if we are committed to raising a new generation of young people with sound positive cultural values as foundation.
He maintained that the Institute over the years give priority attention to children and youth programmes because of the special role they play in the socio-political and economic development of a nation.
The technical session at the roundtable, chaired by immediate past Chairman, Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, Imo State Chapter, Chief Charles Nwankwo had five papers that were presented. They include: Reengineering cultural identity and national consciousness in Nigerian youth through social media by Professor Dennis Akoh; Understanding the fake news phenomenon: Interrogating rights and obligations of youth on social media spaces by Professor Emmanuel Dandaura; Leveraging social media networks for youth empowerment in Nigeria by Associate Professor Fab Ukozor; Mitigating the negative consequences of youth activities on internet and optimizing adherence to ethics and core national values by Chief Fidel Onyenekwe; as well as Culture and sustainable development in the digital age: the role of the Nigerian youth by Vitus Ekocha.
Other dignitaries present at the occasion were; His Excellency, Senator Rochas Owelle Anayo Okorocha, Senate Committee Chairman on Culture and Tourism who was represented by Hon. Barr. Emeh Ikenna; Chief Superintendent of Customs, Nigerian Custom Service, Federal Operations Unit, Zonce C, Owerri, Mr. V.E Uwah; Immediate Past Chairman, Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, Imo State Chapter, Chief Charles U.A Nwankwo; Assistant Commandant of Corps, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, Imo State Command, Mr. Ernest Egbuche; Imo State Coordinator, Revenue Mobilization Commission, Barr. Stan Mbajunwa; as well as the Director, Code of Conduct Bureau, Imo State, Mr. Boniface Ejiogu among others.
Media Asst.-Ag. ES