Clement Adeyi, Osogbo
Nigeria’s media practitioners have been charged to focus on objective reportage capable of promoting free, fair and peaceful election to sustain the country’s democratic development.
The Country Director of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Mr. Samuel Bwalya, gave the charge, on Wednesday, at a Conflict Sensitive Reportage Workshop organised for journalists and media practitioners ahead of the gubernatorial election scheduled for September 22 in Osun State.
Bwalya who spoke on the theme: ‘Conflict Prevention and Peace,’ stressed that some political news pertaining to Nigerian elections often evoked sentiments and frayed nerves which results in violence during polls.
He noted that media reports had the potentialities to make or mar elections as well as the country’s relative peace and spur undue consequences on the citizens.
“As you all know, the media plays critical roles in the national development of any country, irrespective of the form of governance it practises.
“In Nigeria, the media is our key partner. They are vibrant and play significant roles in disseminating information to the people across the nooks and crannies of the country.
“When news reportage causes the people to become violent, such news has derailed from the key objective it set out to achieve. Conflict sensitivity reportage is a virtue that every journalist and media practitioner must imbibe,” he added.
“This workshop is designed to help the participants to become more conscious and sensitive about their news reportage and to be factual.
“Specifically, the workshop intends, among others, to help identify news captions or headlines that can result in violence, promote conflict-sensitive reporting culture among media practitioners and develop a common understanding of the impact of violent conflict in the society,” he said.
“It is also intended to create an enabling environment for the media practitioners to cover the gubernatorial election in the state of Osun and other elections in Nigeria with conflicts sensitive lens and create opportunities for networking among media practitioners towards a proactive conflict sensitive reportage around elections and socioeconomic issues in Nigeria.”
While urging the media practitioners to live up to expectations by upholding the ethics of the profession in the governorship election in Osun State, Bwalya noted, “In this vein, I implore you all the media practitioners to take advantage of this forum to sharpen your skills in the forthcoming elections in Osun to be able to contribute your quota to the growth of democratic development in Nigeria by ensuring that not only your news but all your actions are conflict sensitive, intend to do no harm, promote unity and build peace always.
“With this, we shall all together build a peaceful, prosperous and resilience people and Nigerian nation,” Bwalya said.