The National Assembly of the Federal Government, through the Federal Ministry of Information and National Orientation, has committed N138,066,187 to regulate the menace of fake news and other communication strategies. This was in the comprehensive 2024 appropriation budget submitted by President Bola Tinubu to the National Assembly last week.
A significant portion of this allocation, as disclosed in the budget breakdown, will be utilized to combat fake news while also printing calendars.
The 2024 budget reveals detailed allocations for specific communication strategies;
The sum of N24.5 million is dedicated to a special enlightenment campaign on government programs and policies, including advocacy against fake news, hate speech, and various societal issues such as banditry, farmers-herders clashes, and rape.
Also, the government has allotted N40 million for the production of calendars, N30 million for external publicity and engagement with foreign media, and N20.7 million for media interactions by ministers, influencers, and analysts across print and social media platforms.
Additionally, the government plans to invest N21.7 million in developing social media platforms and networking with other digital platforms to bolster its communication efforts.
According to Punch, a portion of the fund will facilitate media appearances for ministers and organize engagements with social media influencers, among other initiatives.
Former Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed initiated a campaign against fake news during the tenure of former President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Minister highlighted the evolution of fake news, from bare misinformation to more deep fake news. He stressed that this phenomenon was being weaponized against the government and officials.