By Joshua Olomu
Mr Adedayo Thomas, the Executive Director of National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB), on Monday, advised youths against sharing hate speeches, photos and inciting videos on social media platforms.
He gave the advice while delivering a speech at the “Safer Internet Month” workshop organised by the board for youths in
Benue from Feb. 11 to Feb. 12 at the Benue State University, Makurdi.
February is marked globally as Safer Internet Month with different nations and institutions organising campaigns during the
month to sensitise citizens on safer use of the internet.
The two-day event, with the theme “Together for a Better Internet for Peace and Economic Development” had in attendance students,
youths, civil society groups and members of the academia.
According to Thomas, there is urgent need to caution young Nigerians against the dangers of generating and sharing fake news and
provocative motion pictures for the interest of national peace and unity.
He noted that many crisis in some parts of the country were escalated as a result of fake news, hate speeches and videos spread on social media.
He added that “it is no longer news that digital technology has taken over the world, therefore, we must urge our young people to shun
materials that can threaten national peace and co-existence.
“The conference is borne out of the need for NFVCB, both as an industry and a decision maker to build the capacity of youths who are mostly
the users of the internet.
“We want them to promote positive contents and avoid sharing hate speeches on whatsApp, Fabook, twitter and other social media platforms,
especially during and after the 2019 general elections.
“We all have a responsibility to ensure that the internet is not used to promote what divide us, because our nation cannot develop in the
absence of tolerance and unity.”
The executive director noted that the trend of people receiving and forwarding hate speeches and harmful contents without verifying the
authenticity was on the increase.
He added that since the spread of news on social media could not be restricted, there was need for people to be educated on the implication
of such news on society before spreading them.
“It is said that the internet may forgive, but it does not forget, and that is why people should be careful about the messages, photos and videos they share.
“Remember that you cannot control where these images may reach, and what you send to your friends may end up spreading all over the places.”
Key industry players, as well as university lecturers were among the resource persons at the event, with a panel discussion on the topic: “Social Harm Caused
by Film Content and Solution.”
Prof. Saint Gbilekaa, a don in the Department of Theatre Arts, University of Abuja and resource person at the event, called for the promotion of good
values on the internet.
Gbilekaa, who spoke on “Film and Internet Usage: The Need for Conflict Resolution and Economic Development”, urged Nigerian filmmakers to produce
films that address societal ills and shape positive ideas.
Prof. John Illah of the Department of Theatre Arts, University of Jos, warned against spreading fake news and photo-shopped images.
Illah, in his presentation “Role of Film and Conflict Resolution and Anger Management”, noted that fake news and images were politically motivated
to smear “political opponents, especially as the general elections approaches.
“Our youths should beware of spreading images and news they found on the internet, because many of them are political propaganda.”