Zamfara State governor, Bello Matawalle (Photo Credit -@Bellomatawalle1)
Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara says the spread of fake news is weakening Nigerian troops fighting bandits.
Therefore, he announced that his administration would enact laws to regulate social media against the spread of fake news in the state.
Mr Matawalle disclosed this in Gusau on Sunday at the inauguration of newly-elected state executives of the Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ).
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The governor, represented by the commissioner of information Ibrahim Dosara, added that the legislation would punish people who fabricate or propagate false information.
According to him, fake news has become a tool in the hands of unscrupulous politicians.
“The propagation of false information has, without doubt, hindered our efforts to suppress banditry in the state. Fake news has been used to undermine our troops’ morale and turn some communities against the government,” he noted. “We are living at the most challenging period in the history of traditional media. Despite its many benefits, social media has resulted in the spread of fake news, endangering peace and societal stability.”
The governor pointed out that he would continue to treat journalists well and support them when necessary.
“My administration treats journalists with the utmost respect, in keeping with our democratic values. We have always had good working ties with media groups and practitioners,” stated Mr Matawalle. “We have always done our best to safeguard and advance the interests of journalists like you.”
NAWOJ’s zonal (North-West) vice president Halima Musa commended the Zamfara government for supporting the media and women’s inclusive policies.
She charged the new NAWOJ executives to be good ambassadors of the union.
“You should work with all stakeholders in the fight against the spread of fake news, gender-based violence, child abuse, and as well as encouraging school enrollment, especially among vulnerable groups,” said Ms Musa.