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Stop Hate Speech, Fake News, Buhari Warns Journalists

President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday in Abuja, tasked media practitioners to use good journalism as a weapon to fight prevalent hate speech and fake news in the society.

Buhari made the call while delivering a keynote address at the opening of the International Press Institute (IPI) World Congress at the Conference Centre of the Presidential Villa, with the theme: ‘Why Good Journalism Matters.’ 

According to the president, in this era of social media, employment of quality media is essential for strong societies, pointing out that good journalism can also help media organisation to survive competition.

He urged the participants to give due consideration to the issues of hate speech and fake news in the conference.

Buhari also spoke about the policies of his administration which he said had made the obtainment of Nigerian visa easy for travellers visiting Nigeria, saying he was glad that participants at the conference were beneficiaries of the ease of doing business policy of the administration. 

He added that in this era of social media explosion technology, the theme of the conference is gratifying.

He said: “The changing media landscape, the explosion of the social media and the rapidly evolving new technology have had a profound impact on media business and media practice. It is satisfying, therefore, that you have chosen an appropriate theme for your conference: ‘Why Good Journalism Matters: Quality Media for Strong Societies.’

“In a world where the borderline between hate speech and free speech have become blurred, good journalism matters. In an environment where fake news dwarfs investigative reporting, good journalism matters. For survival in an increasingly competitive field, good journalism matters. Good journalism promotes good governance. I, therefore, urge participants to give depth to the topic in your discussions and conclusions.

“One of the reform initiatives of this administration is the introduction of visa on arrival policy. The policy is designed to aid ease of doing business in Nigeria. I am glad that international delegates to this conference are beneficiaries of this policy.” 

Buhari, who thanked the IPI for granting hosting rights for the conference to Nigeria, said Nigeria had a good history of relationship with IPI since 1963 when the institute established a branch in Lagos.

The president, who said IPI bringing the conference to Nigeria at the time the country was facing the scourge of insurgency, added that it was a reflection of its assessment that Nigeria is safe notwithstanding.

He said: “Our country has a rich history of robust relationship with the IPI; prominent Nigerian journalists and media operators were and continue to be in the leadership of the international body. But perhaps the most significant symbol of this special relationship is the Nigeria Institute of Journalism, Ogba, Ikeja, Lagos established by IPI in 1963. It is our pride that your vision of a professional journalism training institution in Nigeria has taken firm root.

“Your annual congress is holding in Nigeria during a period of global terrorism. Nigeria experiences that scourge through Boko Haram, which has been technically degraded and has no territorial hold anywhere, anymore, in its northeast operational base. The internally displaced persons are gradually returning to their communities in reasonable safety and security.

“It is a reflection of your assessment of Nigeria as a safe country that you gave the country the hosting right for this conference. As you have seen since your arrival, you made a wise and right choice.”

He commended the efforts of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) for putting together the conference, noting that Nigeria has the capacity to do great things.


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Copyright 2018 SIGNAL. Permission to use portions of this article is granted provided appropriate credits are given to and other relevant sources.

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