Media Workshop: Group Tasks Journalists to Ensure Healthy Reportage on Security  Matters  

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Media Workshop: Group Tasks Journalists to Ensure Healthy Reportage on Security  Matters

Zainab Tanimu 

Kaduna, North-West, Nigeria

Non-violent and Peace Institute in collaboration with Absolute Press in a one day Media Workshop organized for journalists in Kaduna state has stressed on the need for the media to remain patriotic and objective in their  reportage as that would  enhance healthy and peaceful co-existence among citizens.

The workshop which was declared opened by the Kaduna  State Commissioner of Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan brought  to fore matters of national interest.

It described the media as critical stakeholder in the promotion of peace, development and unity thus, the need to discharge its duties with all diligence.
The Chief Executive  Officer, (CEO)  Absolute Press,  Mr. Emeka Nwankpa in his welcome address said the  workshop was meant to help in boosting the efforts being made at various  levels of government to mitigate the challenges which the security threats pose to the media in the quest for peace in the nation.
This according to him was the reason behind choosing the theme : “News Reporting for National Stability”.
Emeka described the occasion as historic and second in the series of strategic engagement by organizations synergizing to build the capacity of the media in responding professionally to the security challenges of the present time in part of the country.
“Historically, Nigeria has witnessed and survived severe crisis triggered by existential issues resulting in current security challenges.  This makes the current security challenges in parts of the country, including Kaduna state, and how they are reported in the media, a major concern. He said.
“Security is certainly a major concern in the country today.  The security of ONE is the responsibility of ALL.  The insecurity of one is insecurity of all.” He stated.
Still dwelling on the importance of the theme of the workshop, ‘News Reporting for National Stability’ the CEO quoted Section 22 of the Nigerian  Constitution as a reminder on the responsibility of the media to the government (holding them accountable to the people and their responsibility to the people.  That is, keeping citizens well informed.
 He charged  the media to discharge its  duties with all diligence. Though an uneasy task to accomplish in the face of the present security challenges but urged that efforts be made to remain upright by holding to the tenants of the profession.
“How the media discharge this responsibility especially in the face of current engagements of the military and other security agencies with non-state actors requires sustained confidence and capacity building for journalists to enable them appreciate that reporting the engagements of our security forces is not the same as reporting soccer tournaments.
“This effort is about the need for deeper understanding of the subject for journalists to upgrade capacity in reporting of Security matters without hampering the collective safety of Nigerians and compromising national security.
“It is to drive this advocacy and reinforce the current reportage of security matters in conflict situations in part of the country including the North West that this Media Workshop is taking place in Kaduna.  Emeka stressed.
He stated other objectives to include,   that of appraising a shared understanding of the challenges of the present times vis- a-vis the collective safety of Nigerians.
To evaluate media capacity to appreciate the non -salutary outcomes of the security challenges and the media reportage thereof¡ and to also
evolve pragmatic ways of deepening and enhancing the use of the tools of professionalism in a manner that promotes collective security, national stability and protection of the vital interests of the nation.  He said.
Three papers altogether were presented at the workshop the fourth being one of the lectures delivered by late Dr. Isma’il Babatunde Jose a renowned  writer at the Presidential retreat on national security at the international conference centre Abuja on August 11th, 2001 as a reference point to what is happening today.
The three resource persons, Professor KCU Macebuh,  New York State  University U.S.A, Associate Professor Hussein Tukur, Nasarawa State University and Mr. Isiah Abram, Nigeria Media Merit  Award Winner in their separate paper presentations projected the importance of good  reportage in enhancing the stability of a nation.
In their goodwill messages delivered by key security agencies in Kaduna State,  the issue of synergy  was strongly emphasized as that according to them would help in their tasks to making the nation and Kaduna state safe again.
The Commissioner of Police,  the Commandant Custom and that of Kaduna State Nigerian Security and Civil Defence (NSCDC) all called for the collaboration of not only the media but the general public as that would make their task easy.
They lamented the lack of adequate information from community members in helping to  bring crime to the bearest minimum.
Narrating one of their experiences, ASP  Ondir Terzungwe, the Public Relation Officer, NSCDC has this to say.
“In Kaduna when talking about challenges like kidnapping, armed bandits and the recent Sara Suka, we are finding it difficult to nip it in the bud because members of the public are not giving us timely information about the culprits.
“We got a call about an incidence in Kabala, which is a short distance from our office at the State Secretariat but before we got there, they disappeared and no one came fourth with information to trace them.”
“Security is everybody’s business. I believe all of us mean well for this country.
What I have noticed is that most Nigerians are ready to write what will destabilize Nigeria.
So many security operatives through such unpatriotic writings have lost their lives.
“Some of us have even paid the supreme price.”  He ended.
Earlier in his keynote address, the National Vice President  Nigeria  Union of journalists,  Zone A, Comrade Yusuf Idris reminded participants on the need to always adhere to the  ethics of the  profession saying, the press has the constitutional role as agenda setter to help move the nation forward.
Comrade Yusuf commended the organizers of the workshop saying it would help in enhancing professionalism.
While commending the council’s efforts for its cooperation for making it possible for members to be in attendance, he charged those present to make judicious use of the knowledge acquired to  improve on their reportage.
The workshop had in attendance media practitioners from the print, online media and broadcast.
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