The government should support healthy communication rather than suppress free speech, according to Mohammed Idris, Minister of Information and National Orientation.
The Minister made the statement on October 12, 2023, during a courtesy call with a team from Google West Africa.
While the Minister agreed that it is crucial to have a forum for unrestricted expression, she also pointed out that this freedom carries a great deal of responsibility and shouldn’t be used as a pretext to allow chaos to spread throughout the nation.
Idris revealed that the federal government would keep supporting freedom of expression, enabling everyone to have the freedom to express themselves and obtain information.
In his words, “it is critical that those in charge of disseminating this information or developing the platforms are also acutely aware of the possibility that it could be misused against the very people for whom it is intended.”
“Freedom of expression is essential for democracy to thrive, which is why we will collaborate with Google to support unrestricted information sharing,” he declared.
He expressed gratitude to Google for their efforts and said the Ministry would keep interacting with them and other companies in their sector to ensure that fake news is eradicated.
Google has trained over 3,500 journalists to use various tools for news verification, including digital tools to manage misinformation, according to a statement made by Mr. Olumide Balogun, the leader of the delegation from Google West Africa.
“Through the ‘Google Innovation Challenge,’ our Google News integration team supports news organisations worldwide, including those in Nigeria, by helping them innovate and introduce new ideas. One of the innovations we funded was ‘full fact,’ an AI tool that aids in fact-checking.”
The Google team promised to assist the Ministry by providing online skills training for employees.