IN a bid to encourage accurate, objective, and balanced reportage of conflict situations, STALLION TIMES with the support of the Wole Soyinka Center for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ) and the MacArthur Foundation has trained no fewer than 40 journalists from online, print, broadcast, and bloggers in Kogi State on conflict and sensitive reporting.
The training workshop which was tagged “Conflict Sensitive Reporting” the training is a part of Stallion Times activities in the year 2 of its 3-year Participatory Governance and Media Literacy project dubbed “Get Involved, Dialogue and Improve (G-DRIP)” in Kano and Kogi States.
The objectives of the workshop were to encourage journalists to provide accurate, objective, and balanced reportage, to remind journalists of their constitutional roles to hold government accountable, and to provide an opportunity for engagement on ethical issues in Journalism.
In his welcome address, Isiyaku Ahmed, the Editor-in-Chief and Project Coordinator of G-DRIP said unprofessional reporting can ignite conflicts and negative results.
He urged journalists to always verify their information, facts, and figures in strict adherence to the code of ethics that guides the work of journalism before broadcast or publication.
Shuaibu Usman Leman (Walin Sjadalafiya), the National Secretary of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in his presentation on conflict reporting, the safety of journalists, fake news, and ethical journalism elaborately explained that professional reporting of conflict issues can help mitigate fake news, misconceptions, and information disorder.
Sensational and stereotyping reporting has caused so much harm in society as a result of unprofessionalism in reporting conflict matters.
Earlier, the Kogi State NUJ Council Chairman, Comrade Momoh Adeiza Jimoh who was represented by his Secretary, Ademu Seidu Haruna appreciated Stallion Times for organizing the workshop.
He added that “I assured you that the objectives of this training will be put into practice, and we shall as well guide our journalists on how to report conflict-sensitive issues in a professional manner.”
The highlight of the workshop consisted of two sessions of panel discussions on Conflict Sensitive Reporting and Safety of Journalists and Fake News and Ethical Journalism, moderated by Abdul Aji, NUJ Secretary, Zone D, and Kogi State NUJ Chairman, Momoh Adeiza Jimoh respectively.
A communique, which was issued at the end of the workshop, and signed by Comrade Momoh Adeiza Jimoh, Chairperson of the Kogi State Council of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), and Isiyaku Ahmed, the Editor-in-Chief of Stallion Times, reads:
“In a bid to encourage accurate, objective, and balanced reportage of conflict situations and the worsening unethical media reports leading to abuse or irresponsible journalism that pursues sensationalism, biases, prejudices, and blackmail, Stallion Times Media Service organized a one-day workshop on ‘Conflict Sensitive Reporting’ in Kogi as one of its activities in year 2 of the 3-year Participatory Governance and Media Literacy project tagged “Get Involved, Dialogue and Improve (G-DRIP)” in Kano and Kogi states.
“The project is in collaboration with the Wole Soyinka Center for Investigative Journalism under the Collaborative Media Project with support from the MacArthur Foundation.
“The event was attended by a cross-section of journalists from different broadcast, print, and blogosphere organizations.
“During the presentations and plenary sessions, participants resolved that;
“1. Journalists through their important roles of information, education, and entertainment create awareness and ease political and other societal tension, caused by poverty, illiteracy, and the absence of good governance.
“2. While believing that free, independent, and pluralistic media provide a platform for debate and different opinions, Participants caution against the media being misused for propaganda purposes, to incite hatred and spread rumours, thereby artificially creating tensions.
“3. The workshop believes that finding a balance between preventing harm caused by speech and protecting individual expression is a problem though important, especially in conflict situations, and Journalists therefore, have to stay clear of judgmental representations and should describe reality without embellishment.
“4. Journalists must first understand the issues in conflicts in order to be objective and not aggravate the conflicts.
“5. Journalists must try to identify conflict triggers.
“6. Journalists should not suppress facts but should be mindful of the choice of words in their reportage.
“7. Journalists should recognize their constitutional roles in conflict reportage.
“And recommended that;
“1. Peacebuilding should be the core objective of journalism reportage.
“2. Journalists should be mindful of their safety by adhering to the usage of safety kits while covering in conflict zones.
“3. Journalists should adhere strongly to their Code of Ethics.
“4. Journalists should not be carried away by the ‘Breaking News syndrome.’
“5. Journalists, editors, and media owners should build professional solidarity to promote ethics and good governance.
“6. Journalists should in spite of threats, redouble their efforts and live up to the values and standards of the profession.
“7. Media practitioners should expose, isolate, and eliminate all forms of incitement to intense hatred and violence.
“8. Owners of media houses must provide a framework for providing healthcare and social protection for journalists.
“9. Media professionals must be trained and re-trained on the political, physical, and social terrain in which they operate.
“10. A body should be set up to regulate the activities of journalists in Nigeria.”