COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE END OF A THREE-DAY CAPACITY BUILDING WORKSHOP FOR MEDIA GROUPS IN CONFLICT-SENSITIVE REPORTAGE AHEAD OF 2019 GENERAL ELECTIONS IN NIGERIA HELD AT CREST HOTEL, JOS BETWEEN JANUARY 28 AND JANUARY 30, 2019 ORGANISED BY UNITED NATIONS DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME (UNDP) AND SUPPORTED BY NORWEGIAN MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.
Determined to ensure credible polls for promoting peace and sustainable development UNDP, in collaboration with the Norwegian Foreign Affairs Ministry organized a three-day workshop on “Conflict-Sensitive Reportage” for 160 journalists and media practitioners in the North-Central geo-political zone ahead of the 2019 General Elections. The states include Benue, Kogi, Niger, Nasarawa, Kwara and Plateau, as well as, FCT.
The Resident Representative for UNDP Ms. Betty Wabunoha, represented by the team lead Governance, Peace and Security Unit, Mr. Mathew Alao, welcomed the participants to the training. She stressed that voters and candidates rely on access to media to impart and receive information.
A keynote address was presented by His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Plateau State, Rt. Hon. Simon Bako Lalong, represented by the Director General, Research and Documentation, Government House, Prof. John Wade.
Goodwill messages from the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) Chairman, Plateau State Council, representatives of the Media practitioners from the North Central, as well as, the lead facilitator were delivered at the event.
OBJECTIVES of the workshop include
1. To build capacity of journalists to report the 2019 elections in a Conflict-Sensitive manner
2. To promote a culture of pluralism and balanced reportage ahead of the 2019 elections.
3. To sensitize media practitioners on the “Do No Harm Framework” of Conflict Sensitive Reporting
4. To create opportunities for networking among media practitioners towards the proactive conflict sensitive reportage around elections and other socio-economic issues in Nigeria.
It was observed that: Issues that shape election results in states (from group presentations) include:
That thuggery has continued to escalate and assume dangerous proportions in our elections as a result of poverty and ignorance.
It was also observed that hate speech and fake news have intensified with negative impact on our political landscape especially on the 2019 elections
The participants further observed that many internally displaced Nigerians might be disenfranchised owing to their displaced status
It was also observed that because of the welfare status of journalists and the need to be professional and keep to the ethics of the profession especially in this electioneering period, that journalists should explore other legitimate sources of extra income like farming, script writing etc.
Politicians and security agents were advised to provide the enabling environment for journalist to do their job especially during the 2019 elections.
Participants therefore resolved that:
Elections come and go and that all hands must be on deck to ensure that no matter what, Nigeria remains as we have no other country to call our own
A cardinal ingredient of election is pluralism, that elections must be reported in a fair, balanced and objective manner.
Politicians must eschew character assassination and focus on issues like poverty and infrastructure in electioneering campaigns.
Resolve to deploy the knowledge gained at the workshop for effective service delivery in their daily reportage especially in the coverage of the 2019 General Elections.
To be factual, balanced, accurate and conflict-sensitive in reporting the 2019 general elections and other issues
To build professional platforms for exchange of ideas on conflict sensitive reportage
That headlines should tone down emotions and be less sensational and highlight issues that promote national development, cohesion and peaceful coexistence
Journalists at all times especially during the 2019 elections should uphold the ethics of their profession.
Journalists should be their brothers’ keeper and be security conscious as it takes a living journalist to report events.
The participants expressed gratitude to the UNDP and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for their effort at providing the capacity building programme.
The participants particularly appreciated the Resident Representative for UNDP Ms. Betty Wabunoha represented by the team lead, Governance, Peace and Security Unit, Mr Mathew Alao as well as the Executive Governor of Plateau State, His Excellency, Simon Lalong who declared the workshop open
Philip Dzeremo (Benue) Chairman
James Abraham (Plateau)
Friday Idachaba (Kogi) Secretary.
Innocent Odoh (Abuja)
Priscilla Dennis (Niger)
Cheke Emmanuel (Nasarawa)
Mosunmola Ayobami (Kwara.)