The Executive Secretary, Nigerian Press Council, Mr Francis Nwosu, on Wednesday urged media professionals to wake up and join in the fight against violent extremism and terrorism in the country.
Nwosu made the plea at a two-day workshop on: “The Role of the Media in Combatting Violent Extremism and Terrorism in Nigeria” organised by the Nigerian Press Council (NPC), in collaboration with Forte and Henz Ltd., in Ibadan, Oyo State.
According to him, a section of the media has gone overboard by engaging in sectionalism in reporting violent extremism and terrorism in the country.
“While it is a function of the media to inform, and the right of the people to know, the Council has observed that a section of the media has gone overboard in their reportage by engaging in sensationalism and other unethical and unprofessional conducts in order to attract more audience and patronage.
“This is unfortunate since the Press, as the fourth estate of the realm, should be socially responsible by playing a vital role in the nation building.
“This gathering is to sensitise and remind media professionals on the best approach and ways of covering and reporting terrorism and activities of the extremists,” he said.
Nwosu said that the first leg of the workshop was held in Umuahia, Abia, for journalists in the South-East geopolitical Zone.
According to him, NPC places premium on capacity building programmes for journalists and media professionals, especially at this time when extremism and terrorism are testing the collective resolve of the nation.
In his remarks, Mr Ademola Babalola, the Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Oyo State Council, said that the training was to sharpen the skills of journalists on ways to bridge the gap in combatting insecurity and nation building.
Babalola then urged Nigerian journalists to preach peace in order to stem the menace of insecurity in the country.
“We should preach peach at all levels. We should pull down all stories that are capable of igniting violence,” he said.
Babalola said that the issues of insecurity had become major concern to Nigeria citizens, commending the Nigerian Press Council for the training in bringing peace at all levels.
According to him, NUJ has a platform where it preaches peace journalism.
Participants were drawn from NUJ Council across the South-West.
The workshop features presentations of various papers including “Code of Ethics and Social Responsibility as Parametre for Reporting Terrorism”; and “The Role is Media in Maintaining Balance Between Public Rights to Know and National Interest,” among others.