By Asmau Ahmad
Nigeria has been given the mandate to host the 2022 Global Information Literacy Week of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).
The decision was reached at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, France, during a meeting of the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, with the UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information, Mr Tawfik Jelassi.
The meeting was attended by the Ambassador andPermanent Delegate of Nigeria to UNESCO, Dr Hajo Sanni, and other key UNESCO executives.
Jelassi said the Global Media and Information Literacy Week, commemorated annually, is a major occasion for stakeholders to review and celebrate the progress achieved toward media information and literacy for all.
“It is a five-day event with each day having guest lecturers, panels of discussants, key note addresses both from the representatives of the political scene as well as academia.
” Other UNESCO commissions across the world and other member states will also plan a national week-long event and we want to make it a global celebration,” he said.
The UNESCO Assistant Director General said the 2021 edition of the event was held in October in South Africa.
He said the 2021 edition, which was held virtually due to COVID-19 pandemic, marked 10 years since the seeds of Global Media and Information Literacy Week were planted in 2011 in Fez, Morocco.
“This was long before the exponential rise in disinformation, political polarisation, increasing influence of digital platforms and the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.
Mohammed appreciated the honour being extended to Nigeria to host the global event next year.
“There is no better time to host the event than now when we are daily fighting misinformation and fake news and how it is important to our government.
“We are committed to hosting the conference and we believe that there. Is no better place today in Africa to host this kind of conference than Nigeria because of the challenge of fake news and misinformation posed to the polity.
“It will give the opportunity for the global community to know that Nigerian media is free,” he said.
The minister said government would work with relevant bodies in UNESCO to know the format the event would take.