No going back controlling social media — Presidency

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The Senior Special Assistant to the President, Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu , has said the social media can ’ t be left to operate without control .

A State House statement on Monday said Shehu spoke at the Kawararafa Media Award in Abuja on Sunday night .

He said , “ The entire Kasuwan Magani saga that resulted in the death of more than 50 people was because someone posted misleading information on WhatsApp that went viral .

“ All countries in the world are trying to make laws to check the excesses . Many countries are trying to control the situation.

The Europeans have placed a new law that holds the companies responsible .

“ In United Kingdom , the parliament has received a report on social media.

There is youth addiction to it , just like cigarettes . Without any form of control , it has done harm to women , ethnic minorities , individuals , institutions and countries , ’’ the statement by the Deputy Director , Information , Mr Atta Essa , quoted Shehu as saying .

He said that to demonstrate that the government was not against free speech , the Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed , had repeatedly called for a meeting of stakeholders to agree on modalities for regulating the social media .

“ The Federal Government is saying that stakeholders should come together and agree on regulation.

We know that no matter how bad the situation is, it favours someone.

“ Some have argued that our Constitution already has laws on libel , but the laws of the 60s never anticipated social media.

“ No government has the right to muzzle freedom of speech .

We don’ t support the taking of lives as punishment .

People insult others and share false information on social media.

I hope that hate speech will be tackled so that Nigeria will be a sane place to live in, ’’ he added .

He said the global trend required that a journalist should undergo training and licensing before reporting , adding that in the case of the social media , “ with a phone , a tablet or laptop, anyone can reach millions , sometimes for good and other times with ulterior motives . ’’

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