2019: Conference on fake news holds in Nigeria next week

Fake news banner used to illustrate the story. [Photo credit: Contax Law]
Fake news banner used to illustrate the story. [Photo credit: Contax Law]

The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) plans to hold a conference to address the rise of fake news in Nigeria ahead of the 2019 general election.

Themed: “Democracy and Disinformation: How Fake News Threatens our Freedom and Democracy in Nigeria”, the two-day conference is scheduled to hold between August 7 and 8 in Abuja.

“The timing of this conference is crucial especially as our elections are fast approaching and it is essential to prevent the circulation of fake news and disinformation”, CDD Director, Idayat Hassan explained in a statement Thursday.

“Nigeria’s political landscape is tense, and given the increasing security threats in different parts of the country, perceived marginalization, anger, confusion and economic challenges, there is a tendency that political actors can take advantage of these gaps either to misinform, disinform, promote apathy or skew voting choices for the forthcoming elections

“This conference will facilitate discussion around fake news, misinformation and disinformation, their effects on Nigeria’s democracy, and how it could be mitigated.”

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), experts, renowned journalists, civil society actors, academia and government officials are all expected to participate in the conference supported by Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) and MacArthur Foundation.

Fake news is a type of yellow journalism or propaganda that consists of deliberate misinformation or hoaxes spread via traditional print and broadcast news media or online social media according to Wikipedia.

Recently, the federal government launched a campaign against fake news.

Information Minister, Lai Mohammed, who is championing the cause likened the effects of fake news to a time bomb waiting to explode.

He attributed the escalation of the farmers and herders crisis to misinformation.

Mr Mohammed said the decision of the government to launch a campaign against fake news was linked to the possible effects of rumours towards the escalation of related crisis across the country.

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