BY COBHAM NSA, ABUJA –
The National Orientation Agency (NOA) has challenged Nigerian media practitioners to wear the toga of crises managers and collaborate with governments to strengthen peace-building initiatives across the country.
Accordingly, the Agency said its media partnership will embrace new techniques and models to effectively propagate counter-terrorism and insurgency narratives in Nigeria.
Director General of NOA, Dr Garba Abari said the partnership will also encourage fairness, objective and balanced reporting of security and other related issues at all levels.
Addressing participants at its one-day media round-table tagged: ‘The Role of the Media in Reporting Peace Building Processes and the Counter Terrorism Narratives in Nigeria’, on Thursday in Abuja, Abari said government needs the media to popularise its policies and programmes that seek to promote peace, safety and security in the country.
“The media remain a strong, veritable, viable and critical stakeholder in the task of spreading the good news of peace. There is a lot that the local and international community needs to know about government’s efforts at addressing the security challenges and win the peace. So, we will always seek strong partnership with the media to achieve these objectives”, Abari said
Admitting that the task of reporting peace building efforts is herculean, the Director General however said the media should constantly put in view security issues and national interests to awaken people’s consciousness about partnering government on securing lives and property nationwide.
For the paper presenter and Executive Director, Peace Building Development Foundation (PBDF), Kayode Bolaji, the media can consciously promote either peace or conflicts by its reports.
He said it is important for media practitioners to always consider all sides of their stories before pushing them out in the public space as perceived injustice is worst than actual injustice itself, adding that propaganda cannot effectively counter the poisonous narratives by the terrorists.
In his goodwill message, the Director General, Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), Mansur Liman described the media as a key partner in the anti-terrorism war, stressing that practitioners must brace up to promote peace building issues instead of fueling crises with their daily reportage of existing and emerging security challenges.
According to him, “We should evolve media architecture and strategies that will carry everybody, including the locals, along in the peace-building efforts. Also, it is important to always bring issues to the table so that people will know what has been done and what needs to be done to handle the issues and forestall future occurrences.”
Also addressing the participants, Managing Director, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Bayo Onanuga, who praised NOA’s efforts in spreading the ‘Change Begins With Me’ message of government to all nooks and crannies of the country, charged journalists to always deploy their individual platforms towards promoting peace and countering the harmful narratives by Boko Haram insurgents and their sympathisers.
Similarly, Director General, Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Abdulrahaman Ibn-Mohammed and his Voice of Nigeria (VON) counterpart, Dr Osita Okechukwu agreed that peace and conflict reportage places an enormous responsibility on media practitioner.
Abdulrahaman, who was represented by the Executive Director News, Mohammed Labo, commended NOA for organizing the dialogue and urged the Agency to ensure that the peace-building message resonates at the grassroots to achieve its set goals.
For the VON boss, represented by Hanasiah Suleiman, it is important that government invest more resources to re position all public-owned media organizations for effective service delivery to the Nigerian people.