DSS Seek Legislation Against Fake News
The Department of State Security (DSS) and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has called for new legislation to curtail the spread of fake news
The DSS Spokesperson, Dr. Peter Afunanya made at the call at disinformation and misinformation Seminar organised by Centre for Democracy and Development, CDD.
Afunaya said: “Why don’t’ we begin to look at the issue of legislation. In Japan, and other countries, there is a common agreement by convention and legislation that forbid their media from promoting subversive narratives because terrorists feed on publicity. Once you cut the oxygen of publicity, they become disinterested in their actions.”
He insisted that the DSS is a victim of the fake news syndrome when he cited false claim that Ibrahim El Zakzaky, leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) and the former National Security Adviser (NSA) to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Sambo Dasuki died while in custody of the DSS.
However, he called for responsible actions from all stakeholders saying that absolute law and absolute privilege don’t exist anywhere except for absolute responsibility.
“There are rights to demonstrations and protests, yes, but there are no absolute rights. You claim the right to freedom of movements but if there is a lawful curfew, that right of movement is restricted. Even rights to life, we do not have the right to take our lives not to talk of others. Understanding all of these will help us to be responsible citizens,” the DSS spokesman said.
In his remarks, Festus Okoye, INEC National Commissioner, also decried the negative impacts of fake news, especially during elections.
“I join the idea of the past speakers who called for legislation to regulate fake news,” he stated.
But Idayat Hassan from the CDD and Dr. Garba Abari, Director-General of the National Orientation Agency (NOA) said it would be difficult to gag the social media, but stressed that existing laws on cybersecurity and the penal codes should be well implemented.