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PRESS STATEMENT: JOURNALISTS RENEW COMMITMENT TO PROMOTING PEACEFUL CO-EXISTENCE

September 23rd, 2019

PRESS STATEMENT

Journalists renew commitment to promoting peaceful co-existence in Nigeria.

Media practitioners have renewed their commitment to the promotion of peace and conflict prevention across the country. The Journalists also promise to strengthen a network for the isolation and discipline of reporters who promote ethnic, religious and cultural profiling identified as some of the major obstacles to sustainable livelihood.

These were some of the resolutions made at the end of a-one day training with the theme Engaging the media and community based organisations towards conflict prevention and peace building with print, electronic and online media actors as the prime targets.

The training was organized by the Journalists for Democratic Rights, (JODER) with the support of the Institute for International Education, (IIE). JODER in its opening remarks said Nigeria was confronted by corruption, poverty, hunger, ethnic divisions, religious intolerance, a new wave of self-determination movements, violent crimes, kidnapping and banditry consequently, leading to increased rates of violent deaths in Nigeria while threats of greater ethnic or religious conflict now and in the nearest future are real.

Speaking at the training, the Lagos State Chairman, Nigerian Union of Journalists, (NUJ), Dr Qasim Akinreti said journalists have the professional responsibility of educating the people on the right and reasonable cause of action instead of fueling hate and primordial prejudices. He said the NUJ is in the process of registering professional journalists with the aim of eliminating quacks.

Akinreti said “as journalists you must understand the background, the philosophy and geography of the area you want to report.  Knowledge of the country, knowledge of the personalities, the people that surround issues are very important.

He continued that “your dressing, choice of words and front lines are key elements you must understand in terms of extracting facts from people at the conflict zone. A good journalist must be knowledgeable, skillful and not a reactionary. It is important to belong to the NUJ. The union should be every journalist’s first call”.

 

The Chairman of Nigerian Guild of Online Publishers, Mr Dotun Oladipo said his group is developing the framework for self-regulation in line with best practices across the world to ensure that practitioners use their medium to promote public good. He said one solution is to ensure that online publishing is dominated by tested and credible journalists. The Director of News, TV Continental, Mr Babajide Kolade Otitoju at the event said journalists should go beyond press statements issued by government officials for them to be able to produce informed stories for the benefit of the people. He said media practitioners should set agenda for peaceful resolution when reporting conflict.

 

In the resolution, the practitioners promise to work towards the promotion of the utilitarian value of the people of Nigeria by promoting peaceful co-existence and sustainable livelihood.

It stated “The newsrooms and media organisations through its network of will organize periodic training for its members on best practices towards crisis prevention in Nigeria. Journalists in the mainstream media and online platforms will henceforth ensure greater professionalism which is in the interest of the media profession and the people of Nigeria. The practitioners urged the State and Federal authorities to ensure greater access to information through respect for the Freedom of Information Law.”

According to the resolution, “Government and corporate institutions should see the media as partners and therefore provide necessary information that can help the people and the society at large, and such should be provided promptly too. In this respect participants frown at the recent attacks on citizen media by the Nigerian government which has led to the arrest and detention of a couple of media practitioners.”

Participants also called for the immediate release of all journalists currently being detained by the Government or that they should be taken to the law court. Two journalists, the Publishers of Sahara Reporters, Mr Omoyele Sowore and Cross Rivers Watch, Mr Agba Jalingo are currently being held in detention by the state and Federal Governments.

The group also agreed work together to ensure the success of the National Working Group on Peace Building and Conflict Prevention set up by JODER with the support of the Institute of International Education and Ford Foundation, West Africa Regional Office.

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