The Presidency has stated that there was nothing wrong if the military monitors social media interactions of Nigerians to curtail excesses of hate speech and other acts that can jeopardise the unity and safety of the country.
This was revealed by the Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu on a monitored programme on Channels Television.
According to the Presidential aide, it was not out of place if President Muhammadu Buhari mandated the military to monitor the social media as long as it was part of their “national security duties”.
While defending Buhari for his concern about the use of the social media for promoting extremism, Shehu said: “I know that this country, in fact, the whole world has a big problem with balancing free speech and what we call in this country hate speech.
“It has many faces depending on which country you are dealing with. In most of these European countries, (and) America, they are dealing with Islamic terror. In America, white extremism and all of that… All of it fed substantially by the Internet.
“I believe that people can justified that. A lot of countries are taking notes. If Nigeria does it, I don’t know. I’m in a position to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’. But if it happens in this country, it is not extraordinary, it is not unusual. Everybody is interested. Look, this thing about international terrorism is big and nobody is leaving it to chances.”
TheNewsGuru.com reports that the military had Sequel to President Muhammadu Buhari’s speech last week that the social media was fast becoming a tool for promotion of hate speech decided that it will henceforth monitor the social media interactions of people to detect promoters of hate speech.
Director of Defence Information, Major-General John Enenche, who revealed this said the move became necessary in the light of troubling activities and misinformation capable of jeopardizing the unity of the country.
Enenche held that the social media has always been a challenge all over the world and for the military, it is no different.
“It is a double-edged sword and we are also having a bit of it,” he said.
“Imagine when the President came back and addressed the nation, not up to 30 minutes later, a fake speech of the Commander-In-Chief was being circulated in order to do what? To derail the people. If you are not very sharp and if you didn’t listen to the speech or you don’t have a copy of it like I had it almost immediately, you wouldn’t know. So, looking at it from that perspective, it is a challenge everywhere.”
What are we doing? In the military, we are now taking on it more seriously than ever. We have our strategic media centres that monitor the social media to be able to sieve out and react to all the ones that will be anti-government, be anti-military, (and) be anti-security,” the military chief continued.
“We tackle them appropriately with appropriate responses. Ahead of that, we are also proactive. We have measures in place, scientific measures to be able to sieve this information and also to get the public and let them know that some of this information they are getting is not genuine are not true and their objective is an anti-corporate existence of this country.”
TheNewsGuru.com reports that the Federal Government recently categorise hate speeches as terrorism and hopes to deal with suspects with same consequences.