Media practitioners advocates fairness, balance, objective reportage in conflict reporting

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By Ameer Obansa, Lokoja
 Media practitioners  has called on   journalist/and talk show host reporting conflict issues in Nigeria  to ensure fairness, balance and objective reportage, so as to engender peace and united .
They stressed that media practitioners must equally expand their scope of reportage to properly frame the issues for balanced coverage so as not to take stories out of context.
This was part of the  Communiqué issued  at The End Of A 2-Day Media Training On Conflict Sensitive Reporting For Journalists In Kogi State, Facilitated By ActionAid, Nigeria’s SARVE Project at Kini Country Home , Akwanga, Nasarawa State On The 16th & 17th Of October 2018.
They maintained that journalists must be sensitive to peace building process in their reportage and programmes and as well consider women and children in their  reportage.
While stressing the need for reporters to place emphasis on facts over and above value reportage, it advised reporters to de-emphasize the promotion of hate speeches in their reportage.
According to the communiqué, it is important for  reporters not dwell on recounting bitter experience of traumatized Survivors but to rather ensure that they are dispassionate while interviewing Survivors
They advised journalists  to be conscious of their safety in the process of covering conflict zones., but however asked take time out to seek professional assistance if traumatized in the process of reporting.
According to the communiqué advised journalists to adhere strictly to ethical standards and NUJ code of practice, by not allowing  themselves to be manipulated by actors in a conflict situation.
While maintaining that journalists must to not allow their perception and opinions to affect their reportage on conflicts but should ensure that their reportage is tilted towards promoting peace and harmonious co-existence.
In order to achieve lasting peace, reporters should equally desist from the use of languages that reinforces traumatic experiences of Survivors and be wary of the impact of promoting violence that can impact negatively on their audience or readers.
Journalists must also be fair to all parties by always ensuring  that the voice of everyone in a conflict situation is heard in their programmes and reportage as well as wary of the tone /pictures used in their reportage in order not to aggravate the conflict.
Participants also emphasised the need for Media owners/Managers to adequately equip their organizations as well as provide necessary tools and incentives to enhance the productivity of reporters as it concerns conflict reportage.
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