Lai Mohammed, minister of information and culture, says fake news has adverse effects on society, including ruining homes and leaving many depressed.
Speaking on Tuesday when he received a delegation from The Guardian Newspaper in Abuja, Mohammed said fact-checking, for which some media houses now have dedicated desks, including TheCable, will address the menace of fake news.
The minister said fact-checking will help separate facts from fiction, adding that all media establishment should take the issue of fake news seriously.
“To be sure, the issue of fake news and misinformation is not just about the government alone, as some have insinuated. It is about all of us,” he said.
“Fake news has ruined homes, pushed many into depression and done untold hardship to others. It is a clear and present danger to all.
“I believe it will not be out of place for reputable media organisations like the Guardian to set up a special desk for fact-checking as a panacea for this problem.
“That way, you can help citizens to separate fact from fiction. I am aware that some media organizations are already doing this, but it must be taken seriously by every media establishment.
“On our part, we are undeterred as we have continued our engagement with stakeholders to find a way out. Hopefully, we will be taking a more concrete step on this in the months ahead.”
The minister said no democracy could survive without independent media.
“As a matter of fact, no true democracy survives without a professional, responsible and independent media. It is in this context
that the government continues to view the media as a strong partner,” he said.
“It is said that for the media to be able to play its role, which is to inform, criticize and stimulate debate, it must take responsibility for whatever it puts out. In other words, it must get its facts right.