Conflicts: CISLAC tasks govt, media, observers on EWER
Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) has called for improved early warning, conflict prediction mechanisms by community observers and reporting through enhanced media collaboration to support response mechanisms.
Executive Director of CISLAC, Auwal Rafsanjani, made the appeal at a capacity building workshop for community observers and media with backing from Open Society Foundation (OSF) on Early Warning and Early Response (EWER) to curb conflicts in the country.
He also called on the government to institutionalise EWER policy and structure across media outfits to coordinate in-house-driven expertise to accurately identify and analyse sensationalist reporting processes.
In a communiqué made available to The Guardian, he pointed out that the programme, with the theme ‘Building Resilience in Communities through Effective Early Warning System’, was aimed at building the capacity of community observers in Nasarawa State and Federal Capital Territory (FCT) for more collaboration, communication, coordination and collective support for early warning and conflict prediction mechanisms, which are central in conflict prevention.
According to him, community and individuals’ proactiveness in observing early warning signals, backed by verifiable data, remains critical to complement efficient and timely response systems. “Conflict signals are driven by varied indicators observed under natural, cooperative and conflictual events. Inadequate gender mainstreaming in community-based early warning efforts, widens existing disparity in response system and process.
“While early response constitutes a process of mitigating or preventing conflict, it can be structural or operational-driven,” he said. To avert breach of trust and facilitate collective action that drives confidential response on early warning signal reporting, Rafsanjani recommended forming of a formidable force through community networks.
He called for a peace parameter in conflict prevention, while understanding the criticality of inter-connected key stakeholders, geographical targets and gender inclusion.
“Identify appropriate institutions or stakeholders for targeted information on early warning signals for appropriate response, while promoting inter-agency cooperation among responders,” he added. During the technical session entitled ‘The Role of Media in Building Effective Early Warning and Early Response Mechanisms for Communities in Nigeria’, he urged the media to embrace interpretative reporting to deepen understanding and well-informed analysis on early warning signals to elicit response to potential conflict indicators.
He also urged the media to discourage false alert, interpretation, partisanship, nepotism and attention overdose in early warning reporting to maintain accuracy and commitment to ethical reporting.
Rafsanjani charged the media to embrace interpretative reporting in background checking, context building, precedence tracing, causes and effects analysis, story localisation and presentation of diverse opinions.
“Maintain open-door policy across key responders to early warning signals to facilitate accurate information gathering and reporting,” he added.
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