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Social media: Useni raises alarm, says regulatory plans would weaken journalism practice



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By Moses Mark

Former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja, Lt. Gen. Sen. Jeremiah Useni has kicked against the move to regulate the Social Media in Nigeria.

Useni, an elder statesman and a pillar of the Arewa Consultative Forum and North Central People’s Forum disclosed this during an inaugural lecture of the Correspondents’ Chapel of Nigeria Union of Journalists, Plateau State.

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The Lecture, titled “Insecurity and the quest for lasting peace in Nigeria: The role of the media”, Useni expressed fear that censoring the social media would have negative impact on the traditional media and journalists in the country.

Useni who was represented by his Media Consultant, Hon. Yiljap Abraham said “instead of regulating the social media, why not the authorities transform governance to make impact in the lives of citizens?

“The social media platforms are already self regulated by conditions that the news, conversations or dialogue taking place through the platform are monitored and controlled as defined guidelines by their various administrators.

“The danger of this move is when any regulatory agency becomes captured by the people it is supposed to regulate. For instance, a situation where an agency that is supposed to regulate social media is captured by politicians and activists who might want to use their position to suppress the arguments of their political opponents”

He said the regulation of the social media will deny civil society and the public the opportunity to demand accountability and good governance from the constituted authority.

“While I do not condone the act of dissemination of fake news, but I also frawn at the attempt to hide under fake news to regulate the social media for selfish reasons.

Useni described Journalists and the entire media practioners as friends and defending sword of the masses and to him in particular.

He pported the Correspondent’s Chapel of the Nigerian Union of Journalists(NUJ) with donation to purchase a bus for their safety and convinience so as to give their best to the society.

He sympathized with the chapel over the demise of their colleagues some years back at Dankang as a result of accident which occured due to lack of standard vehicle for their mobility.

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