INEC CHAIRMAN CALLS FOR THE REGULATION OF NEW MEDIA
The National Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Prof. Attahiru Jega has called for a regulation on the use of social media in Nigeria.
Prof. Jega made this call during a paper presentation in Abuja on monday at a New Media and Governance Conference where he narrated the Commission’s experience on the response received from new media during the 2011 general elections.
The New Media and Governance Conference organised by the Shehu Musa Yar’adua foundation and Enough is Enough Nigeria focuses on the experiences, prospect and challenges of New Media in Governance.
Professor Jega in the paper said “Practically speaking, we in INEC have received alarms many times in our Situation Room during elections that turned out to be red herrings. Even though we will not stop responding to all alarms, could there be a way to filter communications on the new media platforms and avert possible unsavoury consequences some false alarms?’’.
Prof. Jega welcomed the said the use of New Media in the 2011 election been the first to be so driven, helped the commission in meeting up to election challenges.
“In INEC, we had a Situation Room where we used the various new media platforms (and, of course, conventional ones like the telephone) to engage the public. It was a profound experience in real time interaction with the public as we engaged in instant dissemination of information as well as voter education, and responded to emergent complaints by members of the public while the elections were underway. There is no doubt that this helped the transparency of the process and contributed in no small measure to the acclaimed success of the elections’’ Jega said.
According to the election umpire, the new media provided a vehicle for the unprecedented mobilisation of the emergent generation of youths in the political process.
“There is no doubt that the level of interest shown by the younger generation in the 2011 elections was never before witnessed in Nigeria’s political history. But I believe that the most gratifying dimension of this development is the patriotic zeal demonstrated by the corps of young technophiles who volunteer to man our new media platforms every time we open the Situation Room for an election. They did that during the 2011 General Elections, and they have done so for all the state governorship elections we have conducted this year’’ he added.