Media experts and policymakers have identified socially responsible reportage of conflicts as a vital tool to prevent conflicts from escalating.
The experts highlighted this while speaking at the Policy Dialogue on Conflict Sensitive Reportage organized by Savannah Centre for Diplomacy Democracy and Development (SCDDD) in collaboration with Mercy Corps and the United States Agency for International Development which held in Abuja.
While speaking on ‘The Role of the Media and Policy Makers in Streamlining Conflict Sensitive Reportage Toward National Cohesion’, Prof Abubakar Umar Kari of the University of Abuja mentioned that it is important that the media is socially responsible in its reportage and coverage of conflict-related issues, with a view to ensuring that conflicts do not escalate in the country.
Prof kari buttressed that the media owe the Nigerian citizens the responsibility to be self-censored and responsible in its reportage.
He also asked that all media organizations should ensure that their stylebook incorporates conflict-sensitive reportage values and norms.
He said, “stylebook is a document that focuses on how news is gathered, reported and treated, and it must be designed to ensure that there is some component of conflict-sensitive reporting.”
Prof Kari also mentioned that “the Nigeria Press Organizations (NUJ, NGE and NPAN) should put its house in order and revisit their codes of practice and rules,” adding that, “Legislative enactments to give bite to professional journalistic ethics and standards.”
Also delivering a paper on Sensitive Policymaking for Promoting Sustainable Peace and Security, Mr. Kolade Babajide Otitoju, Veteran broadcaster and host of the Journalists Hangout on Television Continental, explained that the media needs to understand that the interest of their country is their priority and must be protected while reporting conflict.
Otitoju explained that it is essential that journalists do not report conflict with the aim of instigating more violence, but with the aim of attaining peace.
He urged media professionals to stay true to the core of their profession and be ethical in their reporting.
Panelists who spoke at the programme were; Members of the House of Representatives, Hon. Aniekan Umanah John and Hon. Kabiru Idris; Ms. Toun Okewale-Sonaiya, Chief Executive Officer of WFM 91.7 and MR. Charles Kalu, Head of News, Silverbird Group.
Others were; Mr. Jide Ojo, Executive Director, OJA Development Consult; Prof Jide Jimoh, Senior Lecturer, Department of Journalism at the Lagos State University; Hon. Bulus Solomon Maren, Member, House of Representatives; and Mr. Christopher Isizugo, President, Nigerian Union of Journalists.