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‘Fake news has caused depression, ruined homes’ – Lai Mohammed

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Minister of information and culture, Lai Mohammed has spoken on the need for Nigerian media houses to have fact-checking desks, citing the adverse effects of fake news.

The minister warned that fake news generates not only dangerous consequences for the country but it also affects interpersonal relationship among the citizenry.

He stated this on Tuesday when he received a delegation from The Guardian Newspaper in Abuja.

According to the minister, fact-checking will address the menace of fake news and help separate facts from fiction.

“To be sure, the issue of fake news and misinformation is not just about the government alone, as some have insinuated. It is about all of us,” he said.

“Fake news has ruined homes, pushed many into depression and done untold hardship to others. It is a clear and present danger to all.

“I believe it will not be out of place for reputable media organisations like the Guardian to set up a special desk for fact-checking as a panacea for this problem.

“That way, you can help citizens to separate fact from fiction. I am aware that some media organizations are already doing this, but it must be taken seriously by every media establishment.

“On our part, we are undeterred as we have continued our engagement with stakeholders to find a way out. Hopefully, we will be taking a more concrete step on this in the months ahead.”

The minister said no democracy could survive without independent media.

“As a matter of fact, no true democracy survives without a professional, responsible and independent media. It is in this context that the government continues to view the media as a strong partner,” he said.

“It is said that for the media to be able to play its role, which is to inform, criticize and stimulate debate, it must take responsibility for whatever it must get its facts right.

“But can we say today that most of what we read, hear and watch in the news are factual?”

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