The African Council for Communication Education (ACCE) says the use of social media has heightened the spread of fake news and hate speech in Nigeria.
Prof. Nnamdi Ekeanyanwu, National President of Nigerian chapter of the council, said this at the 22nd International Conference and Annual General Meeting of ACCE in Kano.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the theme of the conference was “Mediating security in a new media age and in COVID-19 era; Discourse, Technology and Society”.
“Nigeria and many other African nations face dire national security challenges caused by worsening economic conditions and poor leadership across all spectrum of the society.
“The situation is made worse in the new media age, where some level of sophistication has been noted to accompany crimes and national security concerns in most of these nations,” he said.
Ekeanyanwu, represented by his deputy, Mr Abdullahi Bashir, said the new media age has also heightened the incidence of fake news and hate speech to further polarise the debate that instead of fighting “them” we are fighting “us”.
“It is very important for researchers to come and deliberate on solutions to all the insecurity issues and way forward.
“We will continue to engage relevant stakeholders and chart paths that will lead communication receiving its pride of place in Nigeria and Africa,” he said.
In his remarks, the Vice Chancellor of the Bayero University Kano (BUK), Prof. Sagir Abbas, said the issue of security was upper most in the minds of all African citizens.
“Security situation has over the years, increasingly deteriorated on scope, magnitude and dimension.
“It had expanded from insurgency in the North-East to banditry in North-West and North-Central to kidnapping in nearly all zones and cessation-related violence in the South-East and to some extent the South-West.
“Rising poverty levels and youth unemployment is largely responsible for the insecurity situation and the media factor.
“The theme of this conference is one fundamental bangle worth probing and it will come up with a correct analysis by using the media to improve and enhance our national security,” he said.
Retired Brig.-Gen. Sani Usman, the Consultant Director, Corporate Affairs and Information, Nigerian Army Resource Centre, presented the keynote paper at the event.
Usman said in the paper titled- The media and security in the new media age and post COVID-19 pandemic era, that joint effort was needed to curtail the spread of fake news in Nigeria.
“All hands must be on deck to use the media and fight insurgency,” he said.(NAN)