By Joseph Edegbo:
As Nigeria approaches the 2019 general elections, Kaduna State Peace Commission has enjoined journalists to avoid any reportage that could lead to violence.
The Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive of the Commission, Priscilla Ankut made the appeal on Friday at a workshop on Conflict Sensitive Reporting, organised for journalists in Kaduna State, Northwest of the country.
Describing journalists as movers, shakers and influencers in the society, Ankut said sensational headlines should be carved with sensibility, especially at Crises period.
“We should place humanity above what we write”, she advised.
The Peace Commission Vice Chairman noted that the 2011 election in Kaduna State could not be forgotten easily pointing out that people were still skeptical on which way the 2019 elections would go.
Ankut who reaffirmed the Commitment of the commission towards ensuring peaceful coexistence among the diverse groups in the State, said a committee had already been set up to monitor the activities of political parties and their respective key players.
She said being an agency of prevention, the Commission would strengthen its mechanism to correct the notion in certain quarters that the election in the State would witness violence.
Speaking in the same vein, Lead Facilitator from the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, Sponsor of the workshop, Dr Ahmed Yassin urged journalists to be patriotic so as not to put the state of the nation on trial.
“Sensitivity and patriotism should always be considered in the discharge of your duties,” he warned.
Dr. Yassin who was a member of the Kenyan Peace Commission, used the country as a case study and advised journalists to always demonstrate accuracy, fairness and impartiality in their reportage for the attainment of peaceful elections.
He said although reports could be factual, sensitivity be considered.
On his part, the Chairman, Kaduna State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Comrade Adamu Yusuf commended the Peace Commission for identifying with the media as a Critical Stakeholder in peace building towards the election.
He said although some people are of the opinion that peaceful elections lie on the politicians, the media which Sensitizes the people, plays a vital role to achieve the desired goals.
Comrade Adamu Yusuf drew the attention of the Commission to the destruction of bill boards and therefore stressed the need for the body to convene a meeting with political parties to check the ugly trend.
He assured the Commission that members of the Union would remain unpolitical and unbiased in the discharge of their duties.
Participants who were drawn from the print, electronic and the new media, brainstormed on among others, understanding hate speech and conflict sensitive reporting perspective from Kenya, understanding the Kaduna State context, Strategies for conflict sensitive reporting and the role of Journalists in ensuring peaceful 2019 elections.