The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, says the social media is a double-edged sword for information officers because of its real-time advantage and the challenge of fake news.
The minister said this on Wednesday in Abuja at the opening of a two-day capacity building exercise for Strategic Communication Liaison Officers organised by the Office of the National Security Adviser.
“Undeniably, technological advances have redefined the media landscape and the way information officers communicate government activities to the public.
“But for the information officers, the social media is a double-edged sword.
“Whereas it allows them to reach their audiences much faster, it also poses a lot of challenges, in particular because the social media is blurring the line between fact and fiction between real news and fake news.
“How the information officers overcome this challenge will go a long way in determining his or her success,’’ he said.
The minister said that government information officers were strategic to achieving national strategic objectives through the strengthening of government communication.
He said that the mandate of his ministry “is to manage the image, reputation and promote the culture of the people and government of Nigeria.’’.
In achieving the mandate, the minister recalled that in December last year, he launched a Federal Government Information APP (FGN-iAPP) as part of strategic communications activities to bridge communication gap and bring people a click away from government.
He said that the ministry also used town hall meetings, organised across the six geo-political zones to inform Nigerians and the international community about government programmes and to listen to criticism, feedback and advice from the citizens.
The minister reiterated the government’s commitment to carrying people along in task of governance.
He said that the ministry was leveraging on various social media platforms like Facebook, Whatsapp, Skype, Twitter and Instagram, among others to reach its audiences, especially the youths.
The National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, said that the objective of the workshop was to synchronise government communication channels and activities.
Mr. Monguno, who was represented by Aminu Nabegu, a Permanent Secretary in the Office of Secretary to the Government of the Federation said the present administration had eliminated inter-agency rivalry in its approach to effective communication.
He challenged participants to come up with a strategic communication plan to counter the propaganda and negative narratives by terror and anti-state groups.
Joseph Ochogwu, a Conflict Adviser to the UK Department for International Development, DFID, said that the UK government was co-sponsoring the workshop to strengthening the strategic partnership with the Federal Government.
Mr. Ochogwu disclosed that the UK government had committed over 38 million pounds to Nigeria’s Stability and Reconciliation Programme.
He reiterated the UK government’s commitment to ending global poverty and promoting stability across the globe.