The Federal Government, via the Federal Ministry of Information and National Orientation, is set to allocate N138,066,187 to tackle misinformation and produce calendars.
The allocated funds will also support activities such as arranging media appearances for ministers and coordinating interactions with social media influencers, among other initiatives. These details are outlined in the 2024 Appropriation Bill presently under consideration by the National Assembly.
A former Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, initiated ank advocacy against fake news under the administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari.
Muhammed, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in 2021, stated that Nigeria had graduated from ordinary fake news to “deep” fake news, which according to him, was being used to wage war against the government and its officials.
He had also said that at the beginning, purveyors of deep fake news were largely unknown online publications, adding that it was, however, unfortunate that otherwise reputable publications and some mainstream media had joined the bandwagon while adding that citizens found guilty would be sanctioned.
In the 2024 budget, N24.5m has been allocated for a “special enlightenment campaign on government’s programmes and policies, testimonial series to gauge the impact of government policies on the citizenry.
“Advocacy against fake news, hate speech, farmers-herders clashes, banditry, rape, etc.”
The details also showed that the government would spend N40m to produce calendars; N30m was voted for external publicity and engagement with foreign media; N20.7m was voted for media interactions by ministers, influencers, and analysts on print and social media.
The government also said it would spend N21.7m on the development of social media platforms and networking with other platforms.
President Bola Tinubu submitted the 2024 appropriation budget to the National Assembly last week.