By Eric Ikhilae, Abuja
Governments at all levels have been asked to help combat the problem of fake news by ensuring transparency, accountability and good governance.
A group, PRNigeria, made the request in Abuja on Wednesday Officer, PRNigeria, Alhaji Yushau Shuaib, at a public presentation of a report by the group on its study of the pattern of media report of the #EndSARS protest.
PRNigeria’s Chief Executive Officer, Yushau Shuaib said its officials identified 101 fake news used by social media influencers to aid the escalation of the initial peaceful protest that turned violent.
Shuaib noted that fake news if not curtailed is capable of inciting violence that can destroy the country.
He recalled one of the fake news where Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, was quoted to have directed the Yorubas in the South Eastern region to return home, adding that such a dangerous misrepresentation can cause ethnic chaos among the tribes that make the nation.
Shuaib said that the #endsars protests kick-started on October 3 and lasted till November 5 with the invasion of the media by unscrupulous element frayed a lot of nerves and caused the nation a lot of apprehension before reason prevailed.
He also recalled another fake news ascribed to Rivers State Governor, Mr Nyesom Wike, to the effect that he invited the army to kill all Igbos in Port Harcourt and another where Bishops were alleged to be leading end SARS protest, warning that such rumours if unchecked could spell doom for any country.
He also advocated strong laws to check fake news because it constitute potential threat to democracy and national unity.
Shuaib however charged government at all levels to create sustainable job as a way of getting youths positively engaged, adding also that social media must be deployed to dispel rumours effectively.
He specifically urged that government should not be insensitive with information, noting that hoarding of information easily gives room for fake news.
The media expert also appealed to security agents to always display professionalism in the discharge of their duties and must not for any reason compromise on their integrity.
He disclosed that PRNigeria had worked in 81 out of 101 fake news identified since the end SARS protest, adding that the comprehensive report on fake news would be published January next year.