British Council trains journalists on conflict-sensitive reporting
The advent of digital technology has provided digital and unhindered access to information and the media’s role in educating, informing, entertaining and influencing public opinion in Nigeria is more critical especially now that everyone and anyone can assume the role of a journalist.
As part of efforts to enhance the capacity of journalists in this fast paced digital era, the British Council in Nigeria hosted about 100 journalists from radio, television, newspapers and online platforms across three states in the country to a capacity building workshop in Abuja.
The workshop, which is the second in a series of capacity building initiatives for journalists, deliberated on topics such as, ‘Upholding journalism ethics in the age of social media- sifting facts from fake news’, Conflict sensitive journalism; Equality Diversity and Inclusion in the Nigerian media’; Collaborations in the media space; Storytelling in contemporary Nigeria; Child Protection and Impact of our activities on the environment.
Speaking at the session on the reasons the training was designed, Director of Programmes, British Council Nigeria, Louisa Waddingham, acknowledged the role played by the media outfit in the country.
She explained that the Council’s is the UK’s International Organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities, adding that its different programmes are focused on creating opportunities for people in Nigeria.
According to her, the Council provides platforms where knowledge can be shared amongst key stakeholders that will prompt development.
Also speaking on some of the Council’s projects on civil society and justice, Programme Director, Managing Conflict in Nigeria (MCN)/ Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption (ROLAC), Dr Bob Arnot, explained how working with the police in Nigeria has provided an opportunity for a perception change through different training initiatives.
He also talked about opportunities to manage conflict within the traditional setting and how the Council, through the current European Union funded programme, Managing Conflict in Nigeria, train traditional rulers and their wives in conflict management.
Speaking on the topic. ‘Upholding journalism ethics in the age of social media – Sifting facts from fake news’, CNN/Multichoice African Journalist of the Year Arukaino Umukoro, stressed the need for media men to always verify facts before publishing their stories.
He noted that fake news has caused a tension and damage in the country in recent times and urged participants to abide by the professional ethics in spite of the digital pace and pressure to break the news.
In her presentation on “Conflict Sensitive Journalism”, Communication Specialist and Media Engagement Advisor, Palladium, Lauratu Umar Abdusalam, urged those reporting conflicts to avoid stories that would likely exacerbate conflict and dwell on issues that would contribute to peace building.