Nigeria to partner UNESCO to tackle fake news in rural areas

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NIGERIA’s minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris Malagi, has said the nation will partner the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to establish community radio in order to fight fake news and disinformation in rural areas across the country.

Malagi stated this on Tuesday, December 19, 2023 when he received the country representative of UNESCO to Nigeria, Mr Abdulrahman Diallo, who paid him a courtesy visit in Abuja.

He disclosed that the partnership for the establishment of community radio was sequel to his meeting with UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information, Tawfik Jelassi, on the sidelines of UNESCO’s 42nd General Conference in Paris recently.

“Let us break down this access of information to the local people so that local information becomes more readily available and when that happens, it also goes a long way to reduce fake news, reduce disinformation and it will also deny terrorists, bandits and miscreants the platforms that they always exploits to perpetrate their nefarious activities,” Malagi said. 

He added: “Community radio will help a great deal in eliminating that. What you have seen is that there are some dark spots that they exploit. Criminals exploit those dark spots because they know that there is dearth of information especially for people in rural areas.

”They exploit those dark spots and provide them with the kind of information that they want so they can indoctrinate them to go the other way. We are going to collaborate in that direction with UNESCO.”

He noted that the community radio will also promote peaceful coexistence and access to free flow of information in rural areas.

“We feel that not just eliminating fake news and disinformation, it will promote healthy living, it will promote access and free flow of information from and to the people, and it will also take away or reduce that platform that is available for criminal and miscreants to perpetrate their activities. We want to work with you and UNESCO to see that we actualise that,” Malagi noted.

Expressing support for UNESCO’s inclusive society mandate, Malagi called for the promotion of community radio to bridge information gaps and provide citizens with platforms for expression and feedback.

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Nurudeen Akewushola is a fact-checker with FactCheckHub. He has authored several fact checks which have contributed to the fight against information disorder. You can reach him via [email protected] and @NurudeenAkewus1 via Twitter.

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