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Friday, February 23, 2018

Nigerian media commended for understanding dangers of hate speech

The Nigerian media have been commended for their understanding of the dangers of hate speech, reports ITRealms.

This commendation is coming from the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed while declaring open the workshop on ‘Hate Communication in Nigeria: Identifying its roots and remedies’ held in Abuja Thursday.

He noted that it’s a fact that media takes this issue seriously is very encouraging, stressing that in most cases, the media wittingly or unwittingly provides the platform for the dissemination of hate speech.

“But I can say here, unequivocally, that the Nigerian media understands the dangers of hate speech,” he declared.

He reiterated that hate speech is not free speech.

“For example, while the Nigerian constitution guarantees freedom of speech, it does not guarantee freedom of hate speech. That's because hate speech could be the precursor of violence, of genocide,” he said.

He pointed out that in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, which left at least 800,000 people dead, remains fresh in the memory of the world.

Insisting that hate speech, or what later became known as 'Hate Media', was a major catalyst of that genocide.

This, he said, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda confirmed that when it sentenced two Rwandan journalists to life in prison and a third to 35 years in jail for their roles in fueling the genocide.

At the trial of the journalists, Mohammed said the tribunal was told how the media played a major role in inciting extremists from the Hutu majority to slaughter of ethnic Tutsis and politically moderate Hutus.

The lesson here, he said, is that journalists must never offer their platforms for use to communicate hate speech.
“They must say NO to hate speech. That's one of the fastest ways to nip the dangers of hate speech in the bud,” Mohammed said.


This, he said, is why this workshop is very important, stressing that with the quality of the resource persons who have been assembled for this workshop, it will achieve its purpose and also go a long way in stemming the tide of hate speech in our country.

Nonye Dom/GEE

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