NewsEventsCESACC trains Nigerian correspondents in peace journalism

CESACC trains Nigerian correspondents in peace journalism

Port Harcourt, February 3, 2021 (SIGNIS Nigeria). The Center for the Study of African Culture and Communication (CESACC) and the Communication Studies Department of the Catholic Institute of West Africa (CIWA) in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, in West Africa, held a one-day workshop to train journalists on the need to practice the principles of peace journalism in Nigeria. The one-day workshop, which examined the challenge posed by ethno-religious conflicts to journalists, urged them to use their professional calling to promote harmony among all the tribes and religions in the country.

The workshop was attended by officials of Rivers State Ministry of Information and Communication, the Nigerian Union of Journalists of Rivers State, as well as the staff and students of Catholic Institute of West Africa (CIWA).  The event was organized in conjunction with the Cardinal Onayekan Foundation for Peace, Abuja.

In his opening remarks, Monsignor Professor Joseph Faniran, the Dean, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences of CIWA, highlighted the critical role of journalists in de-escalating ethno-religious conflicts in the country, calling on those who work in the media to hold themselves to the highest standards: “The role of journalists in peace journalism is that first, they have to be responsible to their conscience; the inner responsibility is very important, no matter the incitement you might have out there, when you know that your job is bringing peace to the society, that should give you satisfaction,” Faniran said.

Guest speaker, Alhaji Boye Salau spoke on the theme of the workshop, Ethno-Religious Conflicts and Peace Journalism in Volatile Societies: the Role of the Media in Rivers State. An editor with the state newspaper,Tide, Boye, emphasised the need to further educate journalists to the sensitive nature of their job.  Boye stressed that for journalists to promote harmony over conflict, men and women of the press must be responsible in their reportage. When there is any conflict, the two waring sides will always want to use the media.  It is the responsibility of the journalist to present a balanced view whatever the stories they gather from both sides.

The workshop convener, Fr. Dr. Gerald Musa, a lecturer at CESACC, underscored that the purpose of the workshop was to proffer solutions to the recent “EndSars” protest and other ethno-religious conflicts in Nigeria. To that end, journalists in the state should adopt the ethics of peace journalism: objectivity, professionalism. and giving every party involved a fair hearing. By so doing, the media will engage in objective reporting on ethno-religious issues in the country. If the media fails at this task, they will only continue to fuel ethnic and religious crises in Nigeria.

Innocent Iroaganachi, SIGNIS Correspondent, with Kingsley Izejiobi in Port Harcourt.


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