From Femi Oyelola, Kaduna
A group, Generations For Peace has said fake and inciting news is a major dilemma in building peaceful coexistence in Kaduna State and have been fingered as major contributing factors to crisis bedeviling the state.
The group stated this during a press conference held in Kaduna yesterday.
The Assistant Administrative Officer in Nigeria, Jelilat Abidoye who read the statement said Kaduna State has 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 if the state, fake and inciting news is also a major societal dilemma in building peace and coexistence.
She added that 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 problems is not yet over.
Abidoye stressed that it’s the utmost hope of the group that together with the media, they would be able to identify the causes of fake news and strategic action steps to take in addressing the spread of fake news.
She further explained that the Generations For Peace is a global organization founded by his Royal Highness, Prince Faisal Al-Hussein, 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 an 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 conflict,” the group added.
She 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 plays 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.
As part of activities in the engagement, media practitioners that participated were split into three groups, where they did an exercise on causes of fake news, as well as how to curb it in an interactive session.