A senior lecturer at the Department of Mass Communication, Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko, Ondo State, Dr Olugbenga Abimbola says Nigeria do not need a new law to regulate the social media as there are existing laws that could handle that.
Dr Abimbola made this observation while speaking at the maiden media conference organised by the Information Unit of the Students Union Government of Adeyemi College of Education on Tuesday.
The Don added that Nigeria has sufficient legislation to checkmate the abuse of the social media, adding that the problem is enforcement.
He said the former laws on media regulation will be less controversial and confrontational as against a new law, adding that regulating the social media will bring sanity into the system.
“Most information disseminated on the social media are unprocessed, uncensored and raw because many of the sources or purveyors are without gates.
“Most reports on #EndSars protests were manipulated, exaggerated, misleading and in some cases outright fake. Ditto the gunmen invasion of NDA, Kaduna and abduction of a Major who was reported killed on the social media but actually rescued 26 days later
“The amorphous and fluid nature of the social media platform users and bloggers calls for greater concern.” he said.
Dr Abimbola who encouraged the students to show interest in journalism took them through his times as a journalist with the Hope Newspapers.
He said one of the challenges he faced then was the issue of censorship which he was able to surmount by being diplomatic with the editors and the paper’s publisher – the government.
“The freedom of the press must be upheld to enable reporters, including campus journalists, to do their job without fear or favour. However, there is no absolute freedom anywhere including the freedom of the press. This is because freedom comes with its concomitant responsibilities.
“Journalists (including campus reporters), therefore, should study the social milieu (environment) in which they operate and thus apply the principle of social responsibility in their practice. This they can do by being fair, balanced, and patriotic; they should avoid falling into the trap of fake news and abuse of the social media.”