The governor of Cross River state, Ben Ayade has called for the regulation of social media in Nigeria.
Ayade who spoke in Calabar on Wednesday when he declared open the National Broadcasting Summit with the theme, “Broadcasting and Democracy: Emerging Security Imperatives” organised by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) said the call was necessary as to safeguard the unity of the country.
He said social media has become a platform for the dissemination of misinformation by Nigerians adding that such can lead to crisis in Nigeria if left unregulated.
He said, “The social media in Nigeria must be regulated because freedom is not absolute; else we will have big problems on our hands with regards to governance, citizens’ participation in democracy and security of the nation.
“There is nowhere on earth that freedom is absolute. Press freedom has limits; dissemination of falsehood should also have penalties.
“Misinformation is a menace that can lead to crisis and the social media is accelerating the disunity of Nigeria.
“Many things on the social media cause disunity. The contents disunite and disintegrate us. I believe in a united Nigeria.
“There are so many horrible pictures that are posted on social media that our kids are not supposed to see because it will affect them adversely. It distorts a lot about our person and if this is not checked, we may not have peace.”
The governor frowned at the use of social media in criticizing public officials by Nigerians.
“The people who post such pictures should be sent to jail because it is due to the existence of the law that we all surrendered our freedom and it is the law that protects it.
“You post a picture from an incident that occurred in Mali as if it happened in Nigeria. A lot of such posting fuels religious crisis and killings. They use such to start a crisis and fuel it. It is economic fraud. It is sabotage. Broadcasting regulations must become stiffer. I am not against freedom of the press but they must operate under the ambit of the law” he added.