NGO warns Kogi youths against fake news, hate speech

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Lokoja, Kogi.

A non-profit organisation, Africa Radio Development Association (ARDA), has warned Kogi youths against the spread of fake news and hate speech via the social media.

Ms Priscilla Fiberesima, ARDA Programme Manager, made the call in Lokoja on Friday during a one-day Media Literacy Seminar organised in conjunction with Community Initiatives to Promote Peace (CIPP).

Fiberesima said that 40 youth from within and around Lokoja Local Government Area are being trained on the requisite skills and knowledge necessary to resist manipulations through fake news and hate speech on social media.

“Today’s training is aimed at empowering participants to critically assess and verify information received on social media platforms, thereby contributing to promoting peace in the social media space.

“it also sought to contribute to grooming youth to become socially responsible with the content they share and engage with on social media and in their communities.

“This is because some of our communities have fell Victims of these fake news and hate speeches and suffered crises, violence and destruction of lives and property.

“It is in this light, the media literacy seminar focuses on building the capacity of youth to harness the potential of social media for personal and business development, enabling youths to build their personal brands and utilize social media effectively to promote peace, ” she said.

She said the youth can contribute to the positive development of their communities and not be idle and vulnerable to being used as tools of violence against their communities by desperate politicians.”

The project manager said that the training would help teach them how to package themselves or brand themselves before the public on the social media.

“It is about how to put the right content on the social media. This is because if the Youths are rightly engaged economically and otherwise, they will.not be available to be used as tools for conflicts or violence by the politicians, ” she said.

Fiberesima, who said that the CIPP project is funded by USAID, added that the training programme was being undertaken in six states of Plateau, Benue, Kano, Kaduna, Katsina and Kogi with a total number of 240 youths.

She said that the literacy seminar was not their first training programme as “we have trained 600 youths, a hundred in each of the six states in 2021.”

According to her, aside this training they have a Radio program called “My Neighbour My Friend” which is being aired on Prime FM in Kogi.

She explained: “We started this Programme since 2019 on Grace FM, sensitising the public on how everyone can contribute to the peaceful coexistence in our Communities for the growth and development of Nigeria.”

“Of course, we all know that without peace, there can never be any meaningful development in the country.”

NAN reports that The topics treated by Oluwaseun Bamidele, Oladapo Kadiri and Priscilla Fiberesima include: “Leveraging social media for peace and responsible content,”
“Countering hate speech and misinformation.”

Other topics are: “Promoting peaceful coexistence” “Using social media for positive messaging” and
“Harnessing social media for personal, business, and brand growth.”

The goal of the project is to empower communities to prevent and respond to violence and violent extremism by strengthening key skills and relationships in communities and harnessing the role of women in peace building in conflict communities of the six chosen state.

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