German foundation, Konrad-Adenauer-Stifung (KAS) has tasked Nigerian journalists on conflict sensitive reporting so as to reduce the tendency for a violent 2019 electoral process.
Resident Representative, KAS, Dr Vladimir Kreck, gave this admonition in his remarks to close a two-day training that held in Abuja.
Though he noted that Nigeria still risked having a violent 2019 election, Kreck warned the media against fanning the embers of violence among election stakeholders through their story angles, unfair and unbalanced reportage.
He specifically charged media practitioners to rather raise awareness on electoral violence, mould opinions towards peaceful conduct before, during and after the forthcoming general election.
“Electoral violence is very common to Nigeria. However, we believe that the media can play a very important role to prevent violence before, during and after the election especially through conflict sensitive reporting.
“We hope the 2019 election in Nigeria will be peaceful but there is always the risk in a country like Nigeria that elections turn into violence.
“We want journalists to elevate their work to a new level of quality and be able to know and include certain elements in their reports. Journalists are opinion moulders and are expected to sensitise the public in a proper way,” Kreck said.
A resource person at the training, Dr Tunde Akanni, also urged journalists to deemphasise winners against losers posturing in their reports, but focus more on early warning signals and propagate positions that support conflict mitigation.
Akanni, who is Director, Digital Media and Research Centre, Lagos State University, bemoaned that media organisation still reported along the lines of the positions they had during the 1960-1970 civil war.
He harped on the need to report all sides in any event, especially those silent voices.
“All through the electoral process, the media should not lower its guard. They should with monitoring related activities of the election so that the public would be duly guided on what has become of their voting exercise,” Akanni added.
In his own input, Head, Department of History, Dr Adetunji Ogunyemi, decried that the legitimisation of a faulty political process continued to be a recipe for electoral violence.
He advocated for the operation of a parliamentary cum presidential system of government, noting that the current winner-takes-all presidential system will continue to promote do or die politics in the country.
Speaking, Peace/Conflict Management Officer, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Mr Hammed Abodunrin urged journalists to be critical thinkers to avoid being tossed around by politicians and other influential persons in the society.
Abodunrin further enjoined media personnel to embrace peace journalism and being keen on disseminating factual and balanced reports.
Another resource person, Mr Madu Onuorah, urged journalists to cherish professionalism, personal integrity and practice enlightened self-censorship so as not to unnecessarily inflame violence.
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