By Yetunde Verrisimo, The Sight News
LAGOS—As the world commemorates the 2019 Safer Internet Day, Paradigm Initiative, has urged Nigerians to adopt safer internet practices and stop the propagation of fake news.
The pan-African digital rights and inclusion advocacy organisation, made this call at a media parley on Monday, February 4, at its office in Lagos.
According to the organisation’s Communications Officer, Sodiq Alabi, “The Safer Internet Day is a day set aside to raise awareness of emerging online issues, and to leverage on this to help improve the safety of internet users, especially children and youth”.
He further stated, that Paradigm Initiative, has been empowering youth with digital skills in Nigeria for over a decade, adding that they have always been conscious of the need to train internet users on the responsible use of the tool.
Also speaking, the Paradigm Initiative Digital Inclusion Program Manager,Tosin Ogundipe, noted that the awareness was timely and would help educate youths against being manipulated.
“This is a crucial time to embark on this campaign as Nigeria heads to the polls in a matter of days. Young people are especially impressionable.
“We want them to recognize that issues of false news, hate speech and cyber harassment are phenomena that can negatively affect peace and security, but also, the integrity of an election. We believe internet users’ education is one of the ways to combat these phenomena.
“Our message to youth is to be more discerning in how they consume content on social media and other platforms. That something is online does not make it true. We encourage all users to acquire fact-checking skills so they don’t fall prey to misinformation campaigns and they don’t themselves unwittingly spread misinformation,” Ogundipe added.
The digital literacy campaign includes: classes on digital security for youth; media outreach and roadshows. The campaign is aimed at encouraging internet users in the country to make positive use of the Internet.
Also present at the parley were the European Union Election Observers, who emphasized the need for smooth and credible elections, stating, that their job was to look at the process and report back to the Nigerian people after the conclusion of the polls.