By Ali Sabo.
The Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD) with support from MacArthur Foundation had on the 14th and 17th of August, 2018 conducted a sensitization on Hate Speech and Fake News to the students of College of Islamic and Legal Studies, Ringim and Jigawa State Polytechnic at the ICT/Computer Hall and Computer Science Library Hall of the institutions respectively.
As we are all aware that the issue of spreading Hate Speech and Fake News have become so rampant in our society most especially in social media platforms. It is in this view that CITAD as an organization that is implementing a project on peace and curbing Hate and Dangerous Speeches and Fake News both online and offline, found it very paramount to engage students of tertiary institutions and sensitize them about the negative impact of spreading such kind of information in the society due to the significant number of youth on social media and the role they can play in stopping this menace.
The sensitization which started last week had interacted with students of Bayero University, Kano, Yusuf Maitama Sule University and Federal College of Education all in Kano state. And this week the team moves to Jigawa state. The essence of the sensitization is to equip the students with all the necessary technical knowhow and tools on how to address the menace of HATE Speech and Fake News which is spreading like a wildfire in our society and to also mould them to be the agents of peace in their institutions, communities and associations.
At the sensitization one Lead Paper was presented: Understanding Hate and Dangerous Speeches and Three Breakout Sessions: Using Technology to Combat Hate Speech i.e Facebook, Twitter and YouTube which were facilitated by Hamza Ibrahim, Coordinator Hate Speech Project and Shazali Sabo, Programmes Assistant, Peace.
After the presentations, the participants were given chance to ask questions and make comments. One of the participants Bashir Usman, a student with Department of Law, College of Islamic and Legal Studies, Ringim confessed that he was among the Hate Speech promoters especially on Facebook but after the sensitization he assured the organizers that he will never engage on it again. While Hussaini Lawal of the Department of Computer Science, Jigawa State Polytechnic mentioned that this is the first time he attended this kind of sensitization and said if other organizations will emulate CITAD things will be different in the country. It was also discovered that most of the participants lack the technical knowledge on how to report Hate Speech on either Facebook or Twitter. At the end they promised to use the knowledge they acquired at the sensitization properly and also extend it to their colleagues, friends and families.
In his vote of thanks, the chairman Civil Society Forum, Jigawa State, Comrade Musbahu Basirka commended CITAD for organizing this wonderful and enlightening program especially at this critical time referring to the forth coming general elections and he also appeals to the participants to stay away from any political violence and anything that will hamper the peace of the country during the election.