Mr Francis Nwosu, Executive Secretary,Nigerian Press Council( NPC)
The Nigerian Press Council recently, urged the media not to sensationalise reports on the war against banditry and terrorism in the country.The Executive Secretary of NPC, Mr Francis Nwosu, gave the charge in Umuahia, at the opening of a two-day workshop for media practitioners in the South East geo-political zone.The workshop entitled: “The Role of the Media in Combating Violent Extremism and Terrorism in Nigeria”, was organised by NPC in conjunction with Forte and Henz Ltd.
Nwosu observed that no subject had attracted the attention of the Nigerian media more than the nefarious activities of bandits and kidnappers.
He said, “It is an undisputable fact that terrorism has many aspects that make it attractive to the media.
“These include the danger and human tragedy which has made the media to be interested in reporting terrorism.
“The concern of the council is not why the media cover or report terrorism, but how they report or cover it.”
Nwosu, a former Deputy Editor-in-Chief in NAN, said the aim of the workshop was to enhance the instrumentality and capacity of the media professionals on how to report terrorism.
Similarly, Mr Nnamdi Njemanze, former Executive Secretary of NPC, said it was the responsibility of journalists and other media actors to distribute accurate and comprehensive information on acts of terrorism.
Njemanze spoke on the topic: “The Code of Ethics and Social Responsibility as Parameters for Reporting Terrorism in Nigeria”.
He urged the media to avoid sensational reports that could lead to the spread of public dissension or terror, fear and feelings of chaos..“In relation to these escalating tension and conflicts, the news coverage should beam searchlight on such issues as impartiality, objectivity, balance, bias, privacy and the public interest,” he cautioned.
Another resource person, Dr Jude Ogbodo, posited that the media with their commanding influence and role in the society could be useful tools in taming the escalation of crises in the country.
Ogbodo, a lecturer in the Department of Mass Communication, Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki, spoke on: “The Role of the Media in Maintaining Balance Between Public Right to Know and National Interest.”
Also, Prof. Sunny Udeze of Enugu State University of Science and Technology, who delivered a paper on: “The Role of the Media in Countering Terrorism” advised the media to play down on terrorism.
Earlier, while declaring the workshop open, Mr Eze Chikamnayo, Commissioner for Information, Abia, charged the media to constructively engage other stakeholders in other to combat insecurity in the country.
In a brief remark, the Chairman of NUJ, Abia, Mr Victor Ndukwe thanked the organisers, saying that the workshop was apt considering the current security situation in the country.
Agency Report, News from NAN.
By Charles Edet