Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed said the federal government will not make any law or directive over hate speech and fake news.
The Minister said this during a working visit to the TV Continental on Monday.
He described as fake news, the alleged directive from National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) regulating phone-in programmes and Newspaper review on TV and radio programmes.
Tracereporter reports that Mohammed’s recant contradicts comments he made less than a week ago.
Speaking in Abuja last Thursday at the 3rd Annual Lecture Series of the NBC, the minister directed the agency to sanction media houses allowing hate speeches.
He said: “The challenges facing the NBC have never become more daunting, considering the increasing propensity of some radio and television stations across the country to turn over their platforms to the purveyors of hate speech.
“It is the responsibility of the NBC to put these broadcast stations in check before they set the country on fire.
“The NBC must ensure a strict adherence to the Broadcasting Code, and errant stations must be sanctioned accordingly to serve as a deterrent. The nation looks up to the NBC to restore sanity to the broadcast industry.
“The Commission cannot afford to do any less at this critical time. It cannot afford to fail the nation.
“If you tune into many radio stations, for example, you will be shocked by the things being said, the careless incitement to violence and the level of insensitivity to the multi-religious, multi-ethnic nature of our country.
“Unfortunately, even some of the hosts of such radio programmes do little or nothing to stop such incitements. Oftentimes, they are willing collaborators of hate speech campaigners.
“This must not be allowed to continue because it is detrimental to the unity and well-being of our country,” he warned.
But on Monday, Mohammed said “no government that stifles the press, ever succeeds”.
He stated that the position of the government has been and still remains that the industry should regulate itself.
He said many Nigerians relied on newspaper review on radio and TV as their source of news daily and such review should, therefore, be done from the holistic perspective.
The minister also underscored the need for media houses to regulate the calls received during phone-in programmes to checkmate opportunists from using such avenue for hate speech.