"Stop Insulting Buhari"- Federal Government Warns Social Media Users

The federal government on Thursday admonished the media to stop denigrating the person of President Muhammadu Buhari through their platforms.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, gave the admonition when he paid advocacy visit to the Abuja office of the “Peoples Daily’’ newspaper to drum support for national campaign against fake news.

Mr Mohammed, who was reacting to a recent editorial published by Punch newspaper, said while the press was free to criticise the president and the administration, such criticism must not be to smear the person of the president.

“There was an editorial in an otherwise respected national daily a few days ago that without any scintilla evidence, they denigrated the person of Mr President.

“Make no mistake about this, the media is free to criticise any President but not to denigrate anybody.

“If you have the facts, please come out. How can anybody say Mr President favoured one group than any other?

“The President of a country, irrespective of the party or tribe which he comes from, is the symbol of the country.

“When you denigrate him, you are denigrating yourself. We therefore want to appeal to the media organisations to desist from this.

“Some of them are consumed by hatred and bitterness that they throw cautions to the winds. This is not healthy either for the media or for the country,’’ he said.

The minister stressed that fake news was beyond publishing what was not true.

“When you hide under editorial to pursue agenda which are driven largely by sentiment, emotion, vengeance and bitterness, it does not augur well for the country,’’ he said.

Mr Mohammed said the issue of herdsmen and farmers clash in Nigeria was largely being driven by fake news.

The minister reiterated that the clash had little or nothing to do with ethnicity and religion; rather a fall out of demography, climate change and in some cases, criminality.

He urged the media to be vigorous and circumspect in looking at the issue before arriving at erroneous conclusion.

Mr Mohammed said fake news was a global issue and each country had different approach to combating it including the UK that was contemplating legislating punitive fines on fake social media reports.

He however reiterated the position of the federal government not to coerce or censor but appeal to the sense of responsibility and patriotism of the media.

The Editor-in-Chief of the Peoples Daily, Hameed Bello, thanked the minister for the visit and gave the assurance of the medium to keep fighting against the menace of fake news.

"Stop Insulting Buhari"- Federal Government Warns Social Media Users "Stop Insulting Buhari"- Federal Government Warns Social Media Users Reviewed by Oladehinde Habeeb on September 06, 2018 Rating: 5

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