Media stakeholders move against hate speech

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Media practitioners have emphasized the need for a concerted action by all stakeholders in fighting anti-hate speech in all ramifications.

This was stated in a communiqué issued after a webinar organized by the United Nations Information Centre in collaboration with Penpushing Media. The webinar theme which was dubbed “combating hate speech to build the culture of peace in Nigeria” attempted to train Nigerian Journalists on the need to discourage hate speech.

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The Chairman, Editorial Board of Penpushing Media, Olufunke Fadugba disclosed that the forum was designed to help journalists focus on how they can contribute their quota to discouraging hate speech.

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Fadugba emphasized the need to embrace the movement and warned that failure to do so would tear apart the society and discourage the much needed Foreign Direct Investment.

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Considering the vantage position the media occupies in disseminating news and information, the webinar establishes that it was pertinent for the media to lead the movement against hate speeches.

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“We must identify the sources of hate speech and how to tackle it, while efforts should be made to ensure victims of hate speech report to relevant law enforcement agencies. 

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“Law enforcement agencies should be able to identify hate speech and be alive to their responsibilities in stemming the tide, without necessarily discouraging freedom of speech and expression,” the communiqué read.

While hate speech is not new to us, the communique stated that Government should be able to differentiate opposing views/criticism from hate speeches against their person or government.

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It also added that journalists should be trained in ‘conflict reporting and multicultural awareness campaigns’ and use their various platforms to promote national unity.

The webinar participants from all six geo-political zones of the country said in a similar vein that media organizations should establish monitoring and evaluation units to sensitize the audience to the dangers of hate speech. 

“It is dangerous to condone unwholesome practices or to be passive to the menace of hate speech because it is capable of snowballing into violence with unbearable consequences. 

“The fight against hate speech is a collective responsibility,” the participants noted.

The communiqué posited that building a network of anti-hate speech will equally enable the society to condemn hate speech and offer help to victims of hate speech. 

The Chairman, Editorial Board of Penpushing Media, Olufunke Fadugba disclosed that the forum was designed to help journalists focus on how they can contribute their quota to discouraging hate speech.

Fadugba emphasized the need to embrace the movement and warned that failure to do so would tear apart the society and discourage the much needed Foreign Direct Investment.

The United Nations Country Director (UNIC), Mr. Roland Kayanja in his remarks expressed delight in collaborating with Penpushing Media.

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He also urged participants to consider how social media should be regulated to prevent the spread of hate speech on various platforms they operate.

The event had presentations on “Understanding and Identifying Hate Speech”, “International Principles and National Responses to Hate Speech in Nigeria”, “The Role of CSOs in Countering Hate Speech in Nigeria” as well as Countering Online Hate Speech Through Media and Information Literacy, Hate Speech, Ethical Journalism and National Security – Navigating the Crossroads and Examining Selected Cases of Hate Speech in Nigeria” among other salient issues. 

The speakers and facilitators at the training session include Olota of Ota, Oba Adeyemi Obalanlege, who is a Professor of Mass Communications; Dr. Ayodele Johnson, a veteran journalist an Associate Professor, Lead University, Ibadan and Stella Jibrin, Director Research/Documentation, Nigeria Press Council.

Others are Deacon Owolabi Oladejo, Proprietor Metropolitan Broadcasting Services; Baba Kure Abba Jato, Commissioner for Home Affairs, Information and Culture, Borno State and Comfort Umanah, Managing Director, Redemption 1015fm, Abak.

Eddy Ademosu, Oluremi Olugbenro, Femi Shodunke and Yemisi Fadairo were on the   communique drafting committee.

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