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Osun sets up committee to tackle fake news, cyber bullying

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Osun State Government has announced its decision to set up a Cyber Crime Action Committee to give effect to relevant provisions of the law with respect to cyber crimes, cyber bullying and deliberate online false news.

A statement by the Commissioner for Information and Public Engagement, Kolapo Alimi, on Sunday said the move was meant to tackle the prevalence of fake news in Osun State.

Alimi explained that “the step became necessary to sanitise the governance space and ensure that politicking and governance take place under an atmosphere of responsibility, decency and honesty.”

The development was coming on the heels of war of words on the social media platforms between supporters of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party and the opposition All Progressives Congress on issues relating to governance in the state.

The exchanges often degenerate to name calling among members of the two parties.

The commissioner, however, posited that the increasing wave of fake news negatively affects both the government and the opposition, stressing that the time has come that all operators be brought within the compass of the law.

He said, “The committee domiciled at the Ministry of Justice has as members journalists and legal practitioners. The mandate is to ensure that fake news are nipped in the bid, no matter who the perpetrators are.

“The committee is to apply relevant sections of the Cybercrime Act of 2015 as operational clauses to ensure all stakeholders operate within the law in the exercise and enjoyment of their fundamental human rights.

“Section 24 (1) of the Cybercrime Act, 2015 reads: ‘A person who knowingly or intentionally sends a message or other matter by means of computer systems or network that is grossly offensive, pornographic or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character or causes any such message or matter to be sent, or he knows to be false, for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience danger, obstruction, insult, injury, criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred, ill will or needless anxiety to another or causes such a message to be sent, commits an offence under this Act and is liable on conviction to a fine of not more than N7,000, 000.00 or imprisonment for a term, not more than three years or both.”

He disclosed that the committee would host its maiden meeting on Monday while affirming the commitment of Governor Ademola Adeleke to the delivery of good governance.

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