The Journalists for Democratic Rights, JODER in partnership with the Ford Foundation at the weekend continued with a serial training program for the Nigerian media in Lagos, during which journalists were cautioned on the impact of sensational publications during conflicts.
The media it was observed has the responsibility to encourage dialogue during conflicts through unbiased report than exacerbating crisis via lopsided, biased and side taking reportage.
Executive director of the JODER, Wale Adeoye while addressing participants during the training said though Nigeria has experienced unbroken chain of civil transition since 1999 when the country returned to democracy, however, in the past few years the country has been contending with a major threat of violent Islamic extremism that has taken no fewer than 8,000 lives.
“In recent months, this situation has been compounded by a string of violence and bloodletting either occasioned by ethnic militias, herdsmen or cult groupings. Only recently, a major threat came in the form of hate speeches, the resurgence of ethnic conflict, the threat of violent confrontation between contending parties and the drumbeats of war”, Adeoye said adding that all of these posed challenges to the media who are regarded as pacesetters and agenda setters of the society.
He noted that even though the country has achieved milestones in the realm of political economy, much of the growth appears to be stunted largely due to instability occasioned by corruption, ethnic cleavages, profiling, hate and lack of a unifying basic national consensus.
The media he said, however, has the responsibility through factual reportage to preserve and sustain our democracy, values and culture.
He reminded participants that the most constant threat to democracy in Nigeria is conflict and instability occasioned by economic, cultural and political factors adding that Nigeria is a plural society with diverse cultures and values and a rainbow of civilizations, sometimes in perpetual conflict with each other.