Former President Goodluck Jonathan has tasked Nigerian media practitioners to checkmate the spread of fake news and false information, which according to him does more harm than good in the society.
He also tasked the media on the usage of the Freedom of Information Act (FoIA), which was enacted 10 years ago to fight fake news.
Recalled that the FoIA was enacted in 2011 to bequeath the media with the abiding freedom required to practice according to international best practices and to have unfettered access to information in the public interest.
Speaking in Abuja shortly after he bagged the Blueprint Newspaper’s Icon of Democracy in Africa Award, Jonathan called on the media practitioners to use the FoI law to fight fake news.
He noted that the mainstream media has greater responsibilities now, especially at this time of worsening insecurity and ethnic tension, to promote patriotism and national pride.
The former president also tasked the media to promote patriotism and national pride in view of the current security challenges in the country.
Represented by the former Minister of Works, Architect Mike Onolemenen, Jonathan recalled that his administration enacted the Freedom of Information Act.
According to him, “I recall that in May 2011, my administration enacted the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in order to bequeath the media with the abiding freedom required for this onerous duty, give the people unfettered access to information of public interest.
“The year 2021 makes it one decade since that landmark law was enacted.”
He noted that it will be interesting to see how far that piece of legislation has impacted general reporting, development of journalism and national leadership.
He continued, “On this score, I believe mainstream media has even greater responsibilities now, especially at this time of worsening insecurity and ethnic tension, to promote patriotism and national pride.
“The media should be deliberate, constructive and exercise the kind of restraint that should promote unity, peace and sustainable development.”