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‘Make Google a safe cyberspace in Nigeria’ – Minister

Nigeria’s Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris has urged multinational technology company, Google to make its platform a safe cyberspace that promotes peace and unity in the country. Minister Idris gave the charge during a courtesy visit of the Google West Africa team to his office in Abuja on Thursday.
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Google, Cybersafe in Nigeria
Nigeria’s Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris

Nigeria’s Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris has urged multinational technology company, Google to make its platform a safe cyberspace that promotes peace and unity in the country.

Minister Idris gave the charge during a courtesy visit of the Google West Africa team to his office in Abuja on Thursday.

He said it is important to balance the negative and positive aspects of cyberspace and this responsibility resides with Google. 

“It is not in the interest of the government to gag the press or deny people freedom of expression. I can tell you that the president is not interested in stifling any press flow of information, but once information becomes dangerous, it can now become a problem for us, tear us apart, and create confusion for us as a country.

“We know that information dissemination is critical to the survival of any country. I think it is important for us to have a free press, a platform where people can express themselves freely.

“I think that once people communicate or put out information, it reduces tension and the menace of fake news. That freedom comes with responsibility,” the Minister said.

He said Google has an enormous responsibility to ensure that the freedom people have in cyberspace does not also translate to an avenue for anarchy for Nigerians.

“We want to stay united and in peace; and sometimes if you feel that the knife in the kitchen would be more negative and dangerous, you sometimes need to take it out and use what is available.

“We don’t want to get to that level.  It is a twin problem, but how you as Google navigate that is important for us,” Idris said.

Speaking earlier, Balogun said that Google in the last three years has trained over 3,500 journalists to use different tools for news verification, including digital tools to manage misinformation.

“We have the Google News integration team that helps news organisations across the world, including Nigeria through what is called “Google Innovation Challenge” to innovate and introduce new innovations to news organisations.

“One of the innovations that we funded, called ‘full fact’ is an AI technology that helps in fact-checking.”

The Google team pledged to support the Ministry by training staff on online skills. 

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC), has commenced engagement with Google, YouTube, and Tiktok to curb the excesses of users on digital platforms.

The commission’s director of broadcast monitoring, Francisca Aiyetan, stated this while speaking with DailyTrust on Friday. Aiyetan noted that social media, if not regulated, could be injurious to young Nigerians.

“Every country is making efforts to regulate social media, and Nigeria also is making efforts because we know that there are a lot of things to harness from it.

“But if not regulated, it can also be a platform that will misguide our young people. We are now discussing with stakeholders to agree that, yes, we need to regulate social media and at that level, there should be legislation”, she said.

The commission said it has sent a bill for the regulation of social media to the National Assembly.

 

 

 

(NAN)

 

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