Nigeria: Premium Times, NGF Train Journalists On Peace, Conflict-Sensitive Reporting

22 October 2021

The training was organised to help the journalists effectively report on conflict and other sensitive issues in their various beats.

The PREMIUM TIMES Academy, in partnership with the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF), has concluded a two-day training for journalists in Nigeria on conflict-sensitive reporting.

The training began on Wednesday and ended on Thursday.

The project was organised to help selected Nigerian journalists effectively report on conflict and other sensitive issues in their various beats.

A total of 34 journalists were selected from online, print and electronic media across different newsrooms in the country.

Participants were taught diverse topics ranging from the consequences of non-sensitive reporting, news-gathering in an era of fake news, to the dangers of ethnic profiling, as well as the workings of the NGF in different sectors.

At the training, the Publisher of PREMIUM TIMES, Dapo Olorunyomi, described non-sensitive reporting as unprofessional reporting.

The consequences, he said, of unprofessional reporting can lead to negative and tragic outcomes.

Referring to an eminent scholar, Robert Manoff, Mr Olorunyomi said professional journalism, in the context of conflict, can help counter misconceptions and rumours; build consensus; facilitate communication between conflicting parties; analyse the conflict and educate on the process of resolution, and propose options and solutions to the conflict.

On his part, the Director-General of the NGF, Asishana Okauru, said the training was in response to the new dynamics, which has brought the media to the fore in the types of reporting that would either keep the country together or drive us all apart.

He described media reports in recent times as disappointing. According to him, some of the news headlines sometimes threaten the fabrics that keep the country together.

The NGF, he added, believes in the fundamental and the inalienable importance of freedom of speech and would continue to partner with the media not just to keep the country together.

To achieve this, he said the Forum will ensure that media practitioners that associate with the body are trained and retrained to live up to the responsibility of the profession.

"Most of you cover sensitive beats because you are trusted by your media organisation. This beat is just one of the sensitive ones, and for us, bringing you up to speed on modern techniques of your trade and its trends of reporting is not negotiable.

"At the NGF Secretariat, we are convinced that no nation develops without a responsible media. The Rwandan experience is both frightening and appropriate to cite at this stage. On our part, we expect high standards of professionalism and a keen eye to details from all of you," Mr Okauru said.

Other seasoned journalists like the PREMIUM TIMES' Editor-in-chief, Musikilu Mojeed, the paper's Managing Editor, Idris Akinbajo, Dayo Aiyetan, the Director, International Centre For Investigative Reporting (ICIR), and Kadaria Ahmed, Founder, Radio NOW, were also present to share tools for effective conflict-sensitive reporting.

One common point the facilitators made is that it is the duty of journalists to provide truthful, factual, balanced, and objective information to society.

At the end of the training, participants were issued certificates.

The participants appreciated the organisers for the workshop and promised to apply the new knowledge in their reporting.

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