By Lola Seriki-Idahosa, kaduna
Tracereporters.com …Journalists across the world face deep dilemmas when it comes to reporting on conflicts that are occurring, sometimes devastating the communities in which they live and work.
In kaduna, North West Nigeria, journalists face similar dilemmas while covering news if not in the same magnitude. Political violence and ethno-religious conflict, non-political violence are major concerns for journalists who cover events involving physical confrontation.
There are occasions when reporters are seemingly left with no choice but to report one side of the story because of the difficulties in accessing information, resulting in a compromise with accuracy, balance and truth of the incident.
Journalists respond to the challenges of being part of communities caught up in conflict while at the same time being part of a profession that expects fair and even-handed coverage of these conflicts.
ARDA Development Communications Inc. a non-profit organization (NGO) recently trained over twenty-five journalists with broadcast media, print, social media in kaduna on how to report conflict.
The training which was organised by ARDA, the media/communication partner of the USAID-funded Community Initiatives to Promote Peace (CIPP) project with Mercy Corps as a lead partner and other local partners (Interfaith Mediation Center (IMC) and Pastoral Resolve (PARE) and Savannah Centre for Diplomacy Democracy and Development (SCDDD)), is part of a strategic communication campaign project in response to the increasing threat of violence in high-risk States in Northern Nigeria.
In her presentation, the program officer of African Radio Drama Association (ARDA) Priscilla Fiberesima urged journalists reporting conflict to be mindful of the National unity.
According to her, “the media should foster an enabling environment for peace through policy advocacy, media outreach and linkages to development and progress”.
“The media should also harness the vital role of women in peace building efforts”.
Also in his presentation, by Dr. Jide Jimoh, with title ‘overview of conflict’ he advised journalists to be responsible for lives saving and avoid sensationalism in their reports.
According to him, “anything outside peace journalism, avoid it. Concentrate more on reports that will unit the nation”
The Conflict Sensitive Journalism training encouraged journalists to recognize that they can make a constructive difference in conflict, whether it is armed conflict, political or socioeconomic conflict, and that they can do so without compromising their roles as providers of fair, accurate and responsible reporting.
The interactive training helped journalists to recognize how they may unwittingly exacerbate conflict and encourage them to consider the impact of certain practices.
It helped journalists to see how, by enhancing their understanding of conflict and the theories that explain it, they can provide more informed, accurate and comprehensive coverage.
It also provided some simple but useful tips and points that can assist journalists in reporting effectively on conflict.
The one day training on Conflict Sensitive Journalism was held on Friday, 28th February at Assa Pyramid hotel, Kaduna.
ARDA has effectively communicated social and behaviour change for over twenty-three years. Building on two decades of development communication experience across different media channels, it has become an innovative, enterprising and vibrant development communication institution that produces creative, culturally relevant, impactful, high-quality content for sustainable development in Nigeria; one of which is WAKE DAYA radio program currently airing in Kano, Kaduna and Katsina.