Nigerian journalists from the North-Eastern region have lauded the North-East Development Commission (NEDC) for organizing a capacity-building workshop on conflict-sensitive reporting in Maiduguri, the Borno state capital.
Newsmen reports that the three-day capacity building workshop had in attendance journalists from Borno, Taraba, Bauchi, Gombe, Adamawa and Yobe states.
Some of the journalists who spoke with newsmen at the end of the workshop on Wednesday, appreciated the commission and the federal government for such a training required for national development and peace building.
Mr Rauf Oyewole said that the workshop could not have come at a better time than now, when fake news, hate speeches and sensationalism have become the order of the day, especially, through the use of social media.
He added that it is imperative for the journalists who attended the workshop to adhere strictly to the knowledge learned, especially on the need to douse tension while reporting conflicts or crises.
Also, Mr Muhammed Abubakar said that the training gave the participants an insight into the activities of the NEDC and also broadened the capacities of the journalists on reporting conflicts.
“It also gave us an insight into how journalists can be advocates of peace building and ambassadors of unity in our communities.
“We got to realise that profiling is one of the major problems in conflict reporting. You want to associate a particular crime to a particular group of people or individuals. This is a very big problem.
“Then we also have stereotyping where we form an opinion or perception about a particular group of people, especially by agreeing that if it’s this particular group or individual that commits a crime, yes they or he can do it.
“Then you now inject such in your reportage. All these are the things that make conflicts escalate. We want to make the person that is wounded to be more wounded instead of consoling him,” he said.
In his reaction, Femi Abolaji said he was made to realise that journalists are vital to peace building in their communities.
He said he was further enlightened that one of the mandates of NEDC is to build peace, especially among the people that have been bruised, wounded, displaced and to give them life back by resettling them.
“And after resettling them, they need words that would make them forget what had happened.
“In a nutshell, we have been trained to become developmental journalists because developmental journalism is what we have in the world now.
“And this can be done through partnership which the NEDC has been doing with the journalists in this region,” he said.
Musa Ibrahim called on all the participants to deploy whatever knowledge they have acquired into their styles of reportage in order to further rebuild the region and promote peace across the country.
“We should go back and put what we have learned into practice and see how we can join hands with the NEDC to rebuild the region,” Ibrahim said.