Osogbo – The Minister of Information, Mr Labaran Maku, says social media can be used to provide solution to contemporary challenges facing public institutions in the country.
Maku said this on Friday in Osogbo at the 44th National Council on Information (NCI) conference.
He said that social media could tackle challenges in the areas of voters’ registration and apathy, floods and other environmental problems effectively.
“Under the current democratic dispensation, public hearings are routinely held to generate public and stakeholders’ input into proposed legislation; social media should be used to reach out to stakeholders for effective contributions.”
The minister said the abuses of social media, like cyber bullying and defamation, were inherent challenges that must be carefully balanced with many benefits of the same form of media practise.
He said for now, the antidote to slander or libel through the social media was the right of reply through the same media.
“Public institutions and officials must ensure a more active and effective presence on the social media circuit, to ensure prompt rebuttal of wrongful publication,’’ he said.
Maku urged the council to address the issue of social media critically before 2015, with a view to checking its excesses.
The minister said that public institutions like the Public Complaint Commission (PPC), EFCC, ICPC and other agencies, charged with the responsibility of sanitising the society could achieve speedy and viable results through the social media.
Declaring the conference open, the Gov. Rauf Aregbesola of Osun, advised government at all levels to tap useful information from the social media for development.
Aregbesola said it was imperative for government to use the social media to advance the cause of social issues and development for the benefits of the people.
”The media in the country should encourage the growth of the social media by utilising the on-line technological development to its advantage,’’ Aregbesola said.
The theme of the conference is: “Social Media and Public Information Management.”
Also speaking at the conference, the Acting Managing Director of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Chief Jide Adebayo, said the media in the country should develop its capacity and be proactive in information management.
Adebayo said managing the social media by the government could not stop the people from talking in a democracy, where there was the right to freedom of expression and information.
“You cannot talk of control, but we can develop our media facilities for information dissemination and management in the interest of the nation and the people.
“Just like the minister said, every media should develop itself, advance its capacity building for effective public information management.’’ (NAN)