Ahead of the 2019 General elections, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has called on the media to play its gatekeeping role to forestall hate speech during political campaigns.
The minister said this at a stakeholder’s forum organised by the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria, APCON, on Thursday in Abuja.
The theme of this year’s event is “Ethical Advertising and Communication: A Tool for Enhancing Peace and Political Stability”.
He said that effective communication devoid of hatred and abuse would foster social harmony and progress in the country, stressing that good communication should form the fulcrum of the society.
He called on all politicians to embrace effective communication without character assassination and bickering, this he said would help to uphold the value of the society.
According to him, political campaign and advertisement are about what candidates can offer the electorate, but many politicians have violated this principle.
Mohammed stated that most of the unwholesome messages in political advertisements and campaigns in the media were not subjected to thorough scrutiny before being aired.
He said that some of the messages must pass through the appropriate quarters for vetting before going on air.
The minister called on all politicians irrespective of party affiliation to adhere strictly to the law during political campaign, while calling on the media to play its gate-keeping role.
“Media should play their gate-keeping role to avoid hate speech capable of sending the country ablaze.”
Ishaq Midibbo-Kawu, Director-General, National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, noted that whatever the media would air, the laws and ethics of broadcasting must be strictly adhered to.
He said that the effect of hate speech could not be imagined; stating that what happened in Rwanda as a result of hate speech was a classical example.
According to him, the media must desist from picking news items from the social media, NBC is prepared to wield the big stick on any erring media house and the media should not run contrary of the law.
“We must make Nigeria work, through responsible reporting, we must shun fake news and be objective in our reportage, ” he said.
Monsur Liman, Director-General, Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), stated that misleading and hate filled campaigns could spell doom for a country.
He said that FRCN would join hands with APCON to monitor hate campaign and advertisements, adding that the forthcoming election would be devoid of hate speech.
According to him, we can all be united against hate speech and campaign of calumny, we must look at the laid down rules to serve as guide.