Nigerian journalists urged to take safety first while reporting crisis situation, be peace promoters


Participants at the virtual training in Bauchi

By Akanji Alowolodu, Bauchi

It has been observed that though the media in Nigeria cannot completely shift away from the traditional journalism because other events must be reported, peace journalism should be promoted.

Also, Media practitioners in the country should not be mere peace advocates but peace promoters through their reportage of events especially events that can lead to violence. 
These were part of the resolutions contained in a communique issued at the end of a 3-dsy virtual training by US Embassy in Nigeria for journalists in Bauchi State on peace journalism held at the American Space.

The participants according to the communique also resolved that while reporting a crisis situation, media practitioners should carefully choose the language they use in order to avoid inflammatory language and sensationalism.
Journalists are also called to avoid toxic narrative which include Inflammatory, sensational language and story which tilts towards profiling a tribe, group, political party, ethnic, region which must be treated professionally. 
The media practitioners should always take the position of reconciliation while Stories of violence, protest, agitation and others should be reported with context while digging out the cause of the violence taking into consideration peace journalism which should be embraced and the media should be a tool for reconciliation.
Picture usage should be thoughtfully selected to avoid abusing public morality and inflict more pain on the viewers just as obscene and gory images should be used professionally if it must be used for the story. 
The communique further contained that peace Journalists should give more voice to the victims of violence and reject reports that prioritizes elite voices only stating that, “We have agreed that the voice would be given to the voiceless. That IDPs, Immigrants, Refugees would be given coverage in accordance with the principle of peace journalism” . 
The participants also agreed that they would not portray any group, tribe, ethnic or region, as a terrorist organisation but will be more conscious about their safety from both the state actors and non-state actors while Nigerian journalists would avoid being foolhardy
Another area the participants stressed is that fact checking is identified as useful to help verify toxic narratives and put the records straight while the media should understand the biases of warring factions in a conflict; this will help the media not to take sides, but promote peace in its reportage.
The Participants also called on the media proprietors, media managers to do more training and retraining of journalists and commended the US Embassy, Channels Academy and NUJ for jointly organizing the virtual training which imparted knowledge on the participants. 
The virtual training was a collaboration between US Embassy in Nigeria, Channels Academy and NUJ and was facilitated by Steven Youngblood of the Park University Center for Global Peace Journalism in America as contained in the Communiqué signed by Ishola Michael, Chairman, communique Drafting Committee, Secretary, Rauf Oyewole and Haruna Mohammad, member. 

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