By; BAYO AKAMO, Ibadan
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Country Director, Mr Samuel Bwalya on Monday asked Nigeria’s media practitioners to focus on promotion of unity, peace in reports to sustain the growth of democratic development in Nigeria.
Mr Bwalya stated this in Ibadan while speaking at the opening Ceremony of “Conflict Sensitive Reportage Workshop organized for Journalists and Media Practitioners ahead of the gubernatorial election in Osun state held at the Kakanfo Inn and Conference Centre, Ibadan.
Speaking through the UNDP Conflict Prevention and Peace Building Manager, Mr Mathew Alao the UNDP Country Director declared that the time has come for media practitioners in Nigeria to ensure “free, fair, credible and violent free” election in Nigeria with their reportage .
He emphasized that political news particularly around elections in Nigeria often evokes sentiments and frays nerve and in extreme results into violence, and that it becomes imperious to build and continue to build the capacity of media to be conscious of the fact that their reportage may make or mar the country having serious unintended consequences on the citizens.
“As you all know, media play critical role in the national development of any countries irrespective of the forms of governance they practice. 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.” he said.
Mr Bwalya added “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.”
Speaking further, the UNDP Country Director said the “workshop is designed to help the participants to become more conscious and sensitive about their news reportage while being factual. Specifically, the workshop intends among others to help to: identify news caption that can results into violence, promote conflict-sensitive reporting culture among media practitioners and develop a common understanding of the impact of violent conflict on the society.”
“Create an enabling environment for the media practitioners to cover the gubernatorial election in the state of Osun and other election 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. In this vein, I implore all to take advantage of this forum to sharpen your skills in the subject area 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 will all together build a peaceful, prosperous and resilience peoples and Nigeria nation.”
Speaking, Osun state NUJ Chairman, Mr Abiodun Olalere commended the UNDP for organizing the workshop aimed at boosting reportage of the coming governorship election in Osun state.
The Osun NUJ Chairman emphasized that journalists in Osun State are ready to continue to be responsible as it used to be before, during and after the governorship election.