This research work dwells specially and elaborately on conflict reporting in Nigeria. Nigeria being a heterogeneous society cannot avoid certain conflicts. This research work therefore strive to examine on how conflict is been reported in Nigeria, problems confronting the Nigerian press in conflict reporting and how to improve on conflict reporting in the country. This work also provides solutions to problems encountered by journalist while reporting conflicts in Nigeria. Recommendations are also made on how to improve on reporting conflicts in Nigeria.
The objective of the workshop was to provide an interactive platform where journalists would be guided and sensitized on their professional responsibility in reporting issues that could become potential sources of conflict, escalate tension or constitute a threat to the corporate existence of the country, particularly in the face of the current security challenges.
The workshop was organized by the Nigerian Press Council (NPC), with the support of the Akwa Ibom State Government in continuation of the Council’s objective of carrying out a nation-wide sensitization for journalists on Conflicts and Crises Reporting and to emphasize the need for them to realise the importance of conflict-sensitive journalism.
It was attended by 102 participants – journalists drawn from the six South-South states of Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo and Rivers; Public Information Managers, Federal and State Government officials, Civil Rights Groups, Office of the National Security Adviser and non-governmental organisations, among others.
The Honourable Commissioner for Information and Communications, Mr. Aniekan Umanah, who declared the workshop open, underscored the support of the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, H. E. (Dr.) Godswill Akpabio, who he said agreed to partner with the NPC in the organisation of the forum because he was highly impressed with its theme which he considered germane to the Nigerian society, particularly in view of the prevalence of conflicts/crises in different parts of the country.
He recognized the need to resolve the internal conflict between the media and the security agencies, stressing the urgency for mutual understanding and co-operation between the two parties. He hoped that discussions at the sessions would help stabilize the system and urged participants to strive towards more responsible reportage of issues that would douse rather than escalate crisis situations. He urged journalists to concentrate on issues that would stabilize the polity and de-emphasize concentration of reportage of issues relating to the 2015 elections.
The Chairman of the Akwa Ibom State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Mr. Patrick Albert, in his goodwill message, expressed appreciation to the Hon. Commissioner for his well-thought-out and informed message and the Nigerian Press Council for the timely organisation of the workshop with its crucial theme.
Presentations and discussions embraced such themes as the Role of the Media in Identifying and Reporting Potential Sources of Conflicts; Balancing the Maxim of “Facts are Sacred, Comment is Free” and Social Responsibility in Reporting Crises; Post Conflict Reporting in a Multi-ethnic and Diverse Society; Journalism Code of Ethics and Social Responsibility as Parameters for Reporting Crises; Conventional Media, Social Media and Mediated Crises in the Context of Social Responsibility, among others.
The forum was informed that the Office of the National Security Adviser was leveraging to ensure a better relationship between the security agencies and the Press because it understood and appreciated the need for such a vital relationship, particularly given the current insurgency in parts of Nigeria.
After insightful presentations, observations and discussions, the workshop recommended as follow:
The 5Ws and H should be contextualized for the practice of journalism with the current challenge of the social media.
Some of the likely sources of conflict and conflict drivers include ethnicism and ethnic rivalries; electoral fraud, lack of transparency and accountability, monopoly of power by a group and lack of internal democracy in socio-political organisations, among others.