By Marie-Therese Nanlong, Jos
Former Senator representing Plateau South in the National Assembly, Jeremiah Useni has cautioned against the move to regulate the Social Media in Nigeria saying those seeking the regulation must exercise restraint so that they don’t allow selfish reasons to becloud their judgment.
Useni, a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, noted those in authority should be more concerned about transforming governance to positively impact the lives of ordinary citizens rather than being obsessed with the regulation of social media.
Speaking in Jos at the inaugural lecture of the Correspondents’ Chapel of Nigeria Union of Journalists, titled “Insecurity and the quest for lasting peace in Nigeria: The role of the media”, he stressed that censoring the social media would have a negative impact on the traditional media and journalists in the country as it would deny civil society and the public the opportunity to demand accountability and good governance from the constituted authority.
Represented at the event by his Media Consultant, Yiljap Abraham, he said Instead of regulating the social media, why not the authorities transform governance to make an impact in the lives of citizens? The social media platforms are already self-regulated by conditions that the news, conversations, or dialogue taking place through the platform are monitored and controlled as defined guidelines by their various administrators.
“The danger of this move is when any regulatory agency becomes captured by the people it is supposed to regulate. For instance, a situation where an agency that is supposed to regulate social media is captured by politicians and activists who might want to use their position to suppress the arguments of their political opponents.
“While I do not condone the act of dissemination of fake news, but I also frown at the attempt to hide under fake news to regulate the social media for selfish reasons.”