Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna
A non-governmental organization, NGO, otherwise known as “Generations For Peace,” has taken strategic steps to identify the causes and dissemination of fake news, with a view to addressing the spread of same to reduce conflict violence in Kaduna state.
The body is also of the view that fake news and hate speech are major factors militating against building peaceful coexistence in Kaduna state and responsibly fingered for most of the crisis bedeviling the state. The body expressed this during a press briefing in Kaduna Thursday, as part of its efforts in peace building in Kaduna state.
“Kaduna state has a long history of religious and ethnic conflicts and, despite the efforts of the mass media in mobilizing, informing, educating and enlightening the people so as to bring harmony and tolerance amongst all sections of the state, fake and inciting news is also a major societal dilemma in building peace and coexistence. More so, with the advent of social media even though the main stream media has done, and is still doing, its bit in curbing the flow of such fake news,” the group said.
In the text of the briefing signed by Generations For Peace, Assistant Admin Officer Nigeria, Jelkat Abidoye, said that it’s their utmost hope that, together with the media, they would be able to identify the causes of fake news and strategic action and steps to be taking to addressing the spread of fake news.
They explained that the Generations For Peace is a global organization founded by his Royal Highness, Prince Faisal Al-Hussein, who is President of Jordan Olympic Committee, IOC, based in Amman Jordan, with the vision of ensuring sustainable peace in actively tolerant communities via responsible citizenship.
“Since 2008, Generations For Peace has implemented programmes in and around Kaduna state by working with children, youth, adults and women. Over the years, these programmes have created impact on the communities through innovative and carefully designed programmes in sports empowerment, dialogue arts and advocacy. This it does, by creating safe platforms for interactions and engagements between people from diverse ethnic and religious groups, who have been experiencing conflicts,” the group added.
They explained that with the support of the United States Embassy, Abuja, they have intensified efforts to bring social inclusion, understanding and tolerance to communities experiencing conflict among the diverse ethnic groups and two major religions (Christianity and Islam) with the aim of helping transform these conflicts and build sustainable peace for future generations. “Hence the slogan, ‘Generations For Peace pass it on’…” they stressed.
Generations For Peace emphasized that the importance of the press in the building of peace in the society cannot be overemphasized because information is power and light; lack of it can make members of the society agitated, desperate, restless and sometimes utterly confused.
“Thus, the roles of journalists and journalism play in a society that is prone to crisis can easily be likened to man’s breathing. Opinions are shaped by the information people get from the different mass media outlets available,” the group added.
In order to identity the set objectives, participating media practitioners were divided into three groups, where an exercise on causes of fake news, as well as actions and how to curb spread were discussed in an interactive session.