Commissioner calls for Mutual Understanding and Co-Operation Between the Media and Security Operatives

The Honourable Commissioner for Information and Communications, Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Aniekan Umanah, has called for the need for mutual understanding and co-operation between the media and security agencies. The Hon. Commissioner    made  the call at Uyo, Akwa Ibom State while declaring open a two day sensitization workshop for journalists on Conflicts and Crises Reporting organized by    the Nigerian Press Council (NPC) with the support of Akwa Ibom State Government, held at Entry Point Hotel and Suites, Uyo, from October 3 – 4, 2013.

 The Hon. Commissioner hoped that discussions at the workshop would help stabilize the system and urged participants to strive towards more responsible reportage of issues that would douse rather than escalate crisis situations. He urged journalists to concentrate on issues that would stabilize the polity and de-emphasize concentration of reportage of issues relating to the 2015 elections.

Earlier in a address, the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Press Council, Mr. Bayo Atoyebi while welcoming participants to the capacity building spoke on the essence of the workshop which he said was to address the critical role the media play in the affairs of citizens, community, State or our nation regarding conflicts or crises.

He said that the NPC considers the theme of the workshop, Conflicts and Crises Reporting, very vital and critical in view of what we are witnessing around the world and indeed in our country, Nigeria. “Conflicts, we all know is an inevitable aspect of all human societies; however the way they are reported in the media or handled in the polity can either pre-empt, douse or even escalate casual disagreement which usually could have been guided towards resolution”, Mr. Atoyebi said.  He said that it was in an attempt to ensure that the media are well guided and sensitized in the reporting of conflicts and crises in the country that the Council is providing the capacity intervention as part of its nationwide sensitization for journalists.

The Chairman of the Akwa Ibom State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Mr. Patrick Albert, in his goodwill message, expressed appreciation to the Hon. Commissioner for his well-thought-out and informed message and the NPC for the timely organisation of the workshop with its crucial theme.

The workshop which objective was to provide an interactive platform where journalists would be guided and sensitized on their professional responsibility in reporting issues that could become potential sources of conflict, escalate tension or constitute a threat to the corporate existence of the country, particularly in the face of the current security challenges had mass communications professors and veteran journalists, including personnel from the Office of the National Security Adviser, as resource persons.

Presentations and discussions at the workshop embraced such themes as the Role of the Media in Identifying and Reporting Potential Sources of Conflicts; Balancing the Maxim of “Facts are Sacred, Comment is Free” and Social Responsibility in Reporting Crises; Post Conflict Reporting in a Multi-ethnic and Diverse Society; Journalism Code of Ethics and Social Responsibility as Parameters for Reporting Crises; Conventional Media, Social Media and Mediated Crises in the Context of Social Responsibility, among others.

The workshop was organized in continuation of the Council’s objective of carrying out a nation-wide sensitization for journalists on Conflicts and Crises Reporting and to emphasize the need for them to realise the importance of conflict-sensitive journalism. It was attended by 102 participants who included journalists drawn from the six South-South states of Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo and Rivers; Public Information Managers, Federal and State Government officials, Civil Rights Groups, Office of the National Security Adviser and non-governmental organisations, among others.

A Communiqué was issued at the end of the programme. ……..  CLICK HERE FOR FULL TEXT OF THE COMMUNIQUE