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COMMUNIQUE OF THE MEDIA SENSITIZATION PROGRAM ON HATE AND DANGEROUS SPEECH BY CITAD

As part of its campaign towards a peaceful society, the Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD) in conjunction with the Mac Arthur Foundation and the Nigeria Stability and Reconciliatory Program (NSRP) organized a one-day media sensitization program on hate and dangerous speech. The event which took place at the conference hall of Aminu Kano Centre for Democratic Research and Training (Mambayya House) on the 24th of August, 2015 had in attendance Journalists from various media houses spread across Kano state, members of Civil Society Organisations as well as members of some CBOs and highlighted an in-depth look into the monitoring and countering perspectives of Hate and Dangerous speech with CITAD as a case study and thereafter featured an in-depth discussion on how to counter hate and dangerous speech.
The sensitization training was facilitated by Malam Abdulganiyyyu Rufa’i and Malam Kabiru Dakata both program officers of CITAD and a plenary session was held with a panel chosen at random from the representatives of the participating media houses and Ado Sa’idu Warawa of Freedom Radio Kano emerged as the chairman and he was deputized by Tijjani Yahaya and Halima Muhammad of NTA and Rahama Radio respectively. The session discussed and came up with resolutions agreed by all participants as ways of mitigating or preventing hate and dangerous speech through countering and most importantly review of existing laws that are too restrictive.

 

OBSERVATIONS
Hate and Dangerous speech is no doubt an issue in Nigeria today as a result of the proliferation of such messages in both traditional and new media.
Political party affiliates use both traditional and new media to promote hate and dangerous speech.
Xenophobic attacks in countries outside Nigeria on Nigerian nationals happens too as a result of hate and dangerous speech and that can be handled if the traditional media can step up its efforts with a lot commitment to its condemnation.
Private media houses are found wanting in tackling issues related to hate and dangerous speeches as most their primary motive is driven towards profit generation not societal orientation.
No active regulatory agency exist to enforce NBC’s code against hate and dangerous speech on media platforms available

RECOMMENDATIONS

  1. There is need for capacity building trainings for media personnel facilitated by proprietors of media organization to broadcast responsibly on airwaves and avoid dangerous and hate speech.
  2. There is a need for the use of traditional media to influence new media by encouraging discussion of trending topics on current issues and making particular topic newsworthy.
  3. Conventional media, using resources available to it, can set agenda for social media.
    Private bills should be sponsored in the parliament to make independent government-owned media houses like NTA, FRCN etc
  4. The existing Government policies and laws are flawed and outlandish. They should be reviewed and fashioned-out in ways that promote reporting with professionalism and integrity.
  5. Taking the campaign to higher institutions of learning whose audience is large and extended, more especially building the capacity of the professors/lecturers on ways to tame hate and dangerous speech and mainstreaming it into curriculum.
  6. There is need for a collaborative effort by media platforms and regulators to jointly monitor and mitigate hate and dangerous speech.
  7. There is need for intense traditional media campaign using catchy spot programs to discourage public from engaging in hate and dangerous speech.
  8. There is need for media outlets to indulge in the habit of settling government taxes duly to fast track the involvement of government in enforcing laws guiding the tenets of broadcasting.
  9. There is for the guild of corporate online publishers to organize trainings for their members on what should be and what should not be reported online.
  10. Hate and dangerous speech should not be taken for granted and as such media organizations should form coalition that will monitor and counter hate and dangerous speech.
  11. There is need for a roundtable discussion between media organizations to identify modalities that will mitigate hate and dangerous speech taking into cognizance how and where hate and dangerous speech should be reported.
  12. There is need for creation of social media policy and social media personnel to contain hate and dangerous speech.
  13. Public awareness is instrumental in countering hate and dangerous speech more especially if the campaign takes to streets using banners and flyers to educate people on the dangers of hate and dangerous speech.
  14. Media organisations in collaboration with CSOs and CBOs should put pressure on the government to privatize government-owned media outlets.
  15. There is need for religious and traditional institutions to issue admonishment to their members on the dangers of hate and dangerous speech.
  16. There is need for the establishment of clear hate and dangerous speech policies in their terms of service and mechanisms of enforcing them.
  17. There is need for teaching the youth (who are majority on social media) to think critically about all the media they consume in order to help them to recognize both overt and cloaked hate and dangerous speech on social media.

OUTCOME(S)

  1. At the end of the sensitization program the representatives of the media organisations, CSOs and CBOs came to the conclusion that a collective action is needed to help mitigate dangerous and hate speech on traditional and new media and that culminated into the formation of a coalition christened “Media Coalition against Hate and Dangerous Speech”.
  2. Media stations pledge to convince their managements to develop a social media policy and appoint social media manager to moderate discussion and prevent hate and dangerous speeches in their social media plat forms
  3. The media organisations seek the Technical support of CITAD to develop their Social media policy and request that CITAD give their Social media managers a technical trainings to moderate and develop social media platforms for their programs

About Adamu Umar

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