By Chimezie Godfrey
The Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD) has launched the social media awareness campaign in order to tackle challenges of misinformation, fake news and empower citizens to tap into the digital economy.
CITAD in collaboration with other stakeholders which include Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), Abuja Association of Authors (ANA), announced the launch of the awareness campaign at a Pan-African Social Media Summit & IT Awards held on Saturday in Abuja.
The Executive Director CITAD, Yunusa Yau in his remark noted that misinformation is a major challenge in the use of social media by citizens.
He however stressed that the government has the responsibility of making laws and regulations that will facilitate greater access and utilization of the social media.
He said,”We need to know how to authenticate a particular news item so that we will not guided by misinformation. We need to see social media not just as a platform, but as a platform for economic activities.
“These are the some of the things that our country need to about, how to make laws and regulations that can facilitate greater access and greater utilization of the social media. Rather than doing this, the government is making efforts on how to deny us access to the social media. What does the country gain from such action?
“We know that the social media is a double edged sword that can used for for good or bad. What need to be done is to train more people on how to use the social media.”
Yau urged the government to be thorough on how it punishes individuals and not issue punish generally that will affect innocent people.
He advised that the government should adopt the blue elephant approach, citing for instance that it should not tell people not to use twitter but rather tell them how to use twitter.
He stressed that the use of social media is a strong tool in the society that can be used for the greater good of the society and the country.
Speaking at the event, the Executive Director CISLAC, Auwal Rafsanjani stressed that the social media is actually democratizing Nigeria, unlike the conventional media that is totally controlled by the government.
He pointed out that the social media is important to expose corruption saying that is why corrupt government officials are bent on making laws that will ban its use.
Rafsanjani advised individuals that the best is for them to work in a way to ensure that the social media does not destroy them.
He noted how the social media has helped to expose the looting and stealing of funds supposed to be expended in the fight against COVID-19.
According to him, this has exposed those dubious individuals in the name of COVID-19.
He stressed that the social media has helped to democratize information, expose corruption, promote health and good governance in Nigeria.
Represented at the occasion were the NiDCOM Chairman, Abuja Association of Authors, civil society organizations and other participants.