Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has said called on media professionals and security agencies, especially the military, to work together to move the country forward.
The association, at a capacity building programme for journalists yesterday in Lagos, said there was need for the military and the media to synergise, with a view to charting a new course for internal security and nation building.
Founder and national coordinator of HURIWA, Emmanuel Onwubiko, explained that the interactive session became imperative following the recent arrest of some staff of Daily Trust newspaper by the army over what it described as publication of a sensitive report on the ongoing war against insurgency in the North East.
In the lecture, with the theme “Partnership Between the Media and Nigeria’s Military for Responsible Security Reporting,” Onwubiko said there was need for cooperation between the military and journalists reporting their activities so as not to set the country on fire with sensational reportage
“There is mutual distrust between the two and this is not good for the development of the country. There should be a cordial relationship where the two will be real friends and not cat and rat.
“Journalism is recognized in the Constitution and reporters are doing their constitutional duty as the military, so they should work together for the nation’s good.”
In his keynote address, editorial board member of the Guardian newspapers, Martins Oloja, noted that journalists had a constitutional role to monitor governance and the operations of security agencies and, therefore, urged the military to discontinue with its old ways of dealing with the media.
Rather than assume that journalists were their enemies, Oloja called on military authorities to strengthen the relationship with the media, emphasising, however, that the relationship must not be based on money but on building confidence.
He also urged the military to soft-pedal in its tradition of secrecy by making facts and data available to the media as and when due, to avoid conflicts between both parties.
In his remarks, the director of public relations, Nigerian Army, Brigadier General Sani Usman, warned that the media should not be used as a divisive instrument against the people but for the promotion and consolidation of national unity and integration.
Usman, who was represented by the Acting Commandant, Army School of Public Relations, Col. Mustapha Anka, urged the media to always use their reportage to enlighten Nigerians on the true situation and support of the military in the war against insurgency as well as boost security and Nigeria’s development.