From Noah Ebije, Kaduna
Rising from a roundtable discussion on the effect of fake news on governance and society, the North-West Zone of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in collaboration with the Kaduna State Council of the NUJ on Saturday agreed that fake news is a social problem threatening the public’s ability to trust legitimate press outlets to serve its role in preserving democracy.
To this end, the union called on government to tackle fake news the way it handled the COVID-19 pandemic to curtail the spread of its negative impact on society.
This was contained in a communiqué issued after the roundtable discussion.
NUJ President Chief Chris Isiguzo, NUJ National Secretary Shuaibu Usman Leman, the Chairman of the occasion, Senator Uba Sani, the Chief Host, Vice President, NUJ, Zone ‘A’, Yusuf Idris, all graced the occasion.
The communiqué reads in part:
‘The meeting observed that fake news has negative impact on the society, as it creates enmity, conflicts, tension, crisis and war.
‘That the aggressive approach used by government in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic should be employed in checkmating infodemic.
‘That the laws of defamation, libel and tort should be strengthened to meet present day realities.
‘Clear cut laws on fake news should be enacted in consonance with the magnitude of the menace.
‘That stakeholders in the media industry including Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Guild of Editors (GE), Nigeria Press Council (NPC) should be fully involved in the formulation of such bills.
‘That social media influencers should be trained on basic tenets of journalism to check their excesses and regulate their activities in line with media practice.
‘Mechanisms should be put in place for social media platforms to regulate the usage of fake news or unverified information in their domain.
‘That all practicing journalists should guard against sharing of unverified reports in both traditional and social media.’