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CDD, FCDO host Nigerian editors on conflict-sensitivity reporting

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THE Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), with support from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), is hosting editors of Nigerian media to a 2-day Workshop on Conflict-Sensitive Reporting.

The 2-day event is holding on Wednesday and Thursday, October 27 and 28, at the Hotel 2020 in Abuja.

Some of the facilitators include veteran journalist Ray Ekpu, an International Affair Journalist and former editor with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Mick Slater.

Director of CDD represented by the organisations’ Damian Ihekoronye said the program was a sequel to an engagement with Security and conflict reporters in Nigeria, as part of its Peacebuilding Intervention and promotion of National Cohesion in Nigeria.

“While certain segments of the media have undoubtedly exacerbated conflict in Nigeria, through sensationalisation of headlines, ethnic profiling and tilted narratives, the same Media can undoubtedly play the opposite role by identifying and agreeing on key editorial values and ethics required for conflict reporting,” Ihekoronye said.

He added that the objective of the program was to convene and train media editors from different newsrooms including The ICIR on basic media conflict sensitivity reporting, initiate participant’s reflections on the doctrine of the ‘do no harm’ and demonstrate how it applies to media reporting in the Nigerian context.

“It is also to share global best practices and technical skills pertaining to solution-based journalistic reportage, equip participants with a basic understanding of the flows of misinformation and disinformation in Nigeria.

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“Also, on their consequences for national public discourse, identify and agree upon key editorial values and ethics necessary for reporting in conflict environments,” he noted.

During the session, advertisers’ influence was identified as one of the drivers of sensationalism, veteran journalist and former News Watch Editor Ekpu said there was no correlation between credible journalism and profit-making by media organisations.

“On the contrary, credible journalism attracts profit. Advertisers would come crawling to advertise with such a credible and outstanding Media organisation,” Ekpu said.

When asked about proposed laws to sensor social media in Nigeria, he said it could not be controlled, rather the government should embrace the ‘innovation and live with the good and the bad that comes with it’.

Slater, during his presentation, said the crux of conflict-sensitive reporting should be more practical than theoretical.

“A lot of advice on Conflict-Sensitive reporting is always written in academic ways. More on theoretical perspectives than practical. Now, I am not saying academic theories are not good, but contextualising the practicality of the advice,” Slater said.

He said the role of the media was not to reduce conflict rather it is to report accurate and impartial news.

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He quoted a media author Ross Howard who said ‘ Journalists do not set out to reduce conflicts. They seek to present accurate and impartial news but it is through good reporting that conflict is reduced’.

During his presentation, Slater shared a checklist for the Editors to observe in a conflict BBC report in South Africa.

Some of the questions in the checklist include; if the coverage could inflate the situation, show bias or label any of the parties.

Author profile

Lukman Abolade is an Investigative reporter with The ICIR. Reach out to him via labolade@icirnigeria.org, on twitter @AboladeLAA and FB @Correction94

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