The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has drawn the attention of interactive computer service platforms/internet intermediaries (also known as online platforms) to the spread of false information as Nigeria approaches the 2023 general elections.
In an advisory signed by the agency’s head of corporate affairs and external relations, Mrs. Hadiza Umar, the agency posited that the internet is a shared resource and “it is our collective responsibility to ensure its safe use by fact-checking false information targeted to misinform or disinform Nigerians”.
Hence, one objective of the Code of Practice for Interactive Computer Service Platforms/Internet Intermediaries, developed in consultation with stakeholders, is to combat online harms such as misinformation and disinformation. According to the Code in Part V, all online platforms are mandated to: “Engage the services of certified fact-checkers to identify information targeted to disinform or misinform users in Nigeria. Where information is reported and confirmed to be false, adequate measures should be taken to provide a correct or factual version of events from National and International authoritative sources where applicable.
“Consequently, online platforms are hereby notified of the existence of a Nigerian Fact-checking Coalition (NFC) which consists of fact-checking organisations, civil societies, and newsrooms that are collaborating to curb the spread of misinformation and disinformation in Nigeria. The members of the coalition include FactCheckHub, Africa Check, Dubawa, International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR), Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID), FactsMatterNG, The Cable, Daily Trust, Premium Times, The Insight, Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) and Digital Africa Research Lab.
“This call is issued to serve as a reminder to all online platforms, international and domestic news agencies, bloggers, social media influencers, etc., to fact-check problematic information that is reported and confirmed to be false to avoid the spread of misinformation and disinformation.
“The Code of Practice for Interactive Computer Service Platforms/Internet Intermediaries can be accessed via: https://nitda.gov.ng/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/APPROVED-NITDA-CODE-OF-PRACTICE-FOR-INTERACTIVE-COMPUTER-SERVICE-PLATFORMS-INTERNET-INTERMEDIARIES-2022-002.pdf
“For enquiries, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org,” the statement added.