Conflict-Sensitive Reporting: Media practitioners urges to reject propaganda but seek facts… as CDD train journalists

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By Joy Odor

Fifty journalists from different media orgainsations in the North, Middle Belt, Western Nigeria and the Niger Delta receive training on Conflict-Sensitive Reporting by the Center for Democracy and Development (CDD) to further strengthen the delivery of peace and security in Nigeria have been urged to always think through how they frame their headlines and stories in such a manner that inspires peace building rather than to create reprisal attack as well as reject propaganda from any sources but seek to get facts from all sources.

The 2-day Conflict-Sensitive Reporting Training organized by CDD in Abuja brainstormed on how the media can avoid escalating conflicts from headlines or stories that stair division and crises.

Giving highlights of the event, the Programme Co-ordinator, Mr Damien lhenkoroye said the project is funded by the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office and would be implemented for eight months to strengthen pillars of security, institutions and intiatives that promote peace, deliver security and  and protect lives and properties of citizens across the country.

According to him, CDD has outlined different activities that would deliver on the project baseline such as finding out the trend of insecurity in the regions, understanding some of the intiatives for peace building to help address the disagreements, conflicts and issues through lots of campaign programs using the media in particular which is essential to reduce and manage the proliferation of fake news, misinformation and disinformation that have helped fuel conflicts.

Declaring the training open, the Senior CDD Fellow, Professor Jibrin lbrahim who spoke on CDD, Past and ongoing interventions emphasize that the training is based on how the media should avoid news that would do harm.

He assured that the training would inspire the participants to be better journalists, committed to advanceing the course of Nigeria.

While the Executive Director of LightRay Media and General Manager Mega FM, a Niger-Delta based Broadcaster and Pulizer Centre Recognised Award Winning Investigative Journalist, Ms Ejiro Umukoro speaking on Sensitiv-Comflict Reporting Training, Research and Academic Perspective bemoned the choices of language and wording in headlines by Nigerian print media.

According to her, a high number of Nigeria news headlines often whip up emotional conflicts, bias, war, or attack while the body of the news would read another thing and enjoined the editors to stop using headlines to stair division.

Ms. Ejiro emphasised that both the editorial policy and politics of a media organisation should harmonise and be unambiguous.

She called on the participants to always go back to the orgin of a particular story to tell the story as a counter response to diffuse misinformation and disinformation.

According to her, the media should first of all see themselves as peace builders as there is a difference between being in the story and telling the story.

Ms Ejiro Umukoro also told the participants to be patten spotters while recommending that they should also research persons they interview for sound bites or beats.

Also speaking on Conflict-Sensitive Reporting, “Practitioner’s Perspective” Ms Mayeni Jones from BBC West Africa lamented that Nigeria journalists use more nagative language that indicates blame game and contribute to the escalation of conflicts.

According to her, conflicts reporting provide depth and context rather than superficial, saying what we do is war journalism than Peace journalism.

Ms. Mayeni Jones recommend that the participants should learn to value non violent and developmental responses instead of overvaluing violent and reactive responses to conflict.

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