2019: Adesina Warns Against Fake News, Hate Speech


The Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina on Thursday urged journalists and media organisations in the country to be on the guard against the menace of fake news and hate speech as the country gears up towards the 2019 general election.

Adesina, who spoke in Lokoja at the grand finale of the 2018 Press Week of the Kogi State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists while delivering a lecture on “Media and News Reporting in an Election Year”, urged journalists to uphold the code of ethnics and global principles that guide journalism practice in their election reportage.

He pointed out that the manner the media go about their reporting in the build up to the election and during the election proper would have significant impact on how things would turn out eventually in the country, either peaceful or violent.

Adesina maintained that the journalists and media organisations must rise against the influx of fake news and hate speech, saying there are capable of plunging the nation into upheaval as witnessed in other countries of the world such as Rwanda and Kenya.

“One thing the media needs to be alert to is the influx of fake news, and the impact on the outcome of elections. Fake news is made-up information, concocted, without any authentication. It is fiction masquerading as news.

“Very close to the phenomenon of fake news is hate speech. In fact, the two are like Siamese twins. The intention of fake news is often to generate hate, demean, demonize and de-market.

“By the time fake news and hate speech team up, a huge bomb is waiting to explode. It can consume a nation, as we have seen in places like Rwanda, Kenya, and many others. The Nigerian journalist must be wary of this deadly duo, as we approach national elections”, he said.

He urged the Nigerian media not to attempt to “reinvent the wheel” but should only seek to be ethical in their reporting by imbibing the journalism principles of truthfulness, accuracy, fairness, objectivity and social responsibility in their reportage.

Adesina also advised journalists to try as much as possible to abide by the codes for election coverage to avoid running foul of the law.

The Chief of Staff to the Kogi State Governor, Edward Onoja on the occasion urged journalists and media organisations to shun the temptation of purveying fake news in order not to lose public trust.