ActionAid has called on journalists to report security issues accurately to avoid spurring hatred that can result to violence around the country.
Director, Organisational Effectiveness, ActionAid, Funmilayo Oyefusi made the call at a two-day Media Masterclass on Policy Engagement for Preventing Violent Extremism during and post-COVID-19 in Kogi and Nasarawa states, in Akwanga.
The event was organised by ActionAid Nigeria with the support from Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund (CCERF) to train journalists on reporting issues in the crisis period.
Oyefusi also urged journalists to utilise the opportunity of the training to equip themselves for better reportage, especially as it relate to violent extremism.
She further called on media practitioners to hold duty bearers or leaders at all levels accountable in ensuring they curbed violence extremism.
She said the training was orgnised to hold the duty bearers accountable in the implementation of budget as a way of preventing violence extremism in the society.
According to her, ActionAid is collaborating with the media to project various intervention programmes being carried out by the organisation.
A facilitator, Dr Terfa Abraham, a Research Fellow and Economist at National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS) urged the media to be accurate in their reporting to promote peace.
Abraham, who spoke on “An Assessment of Public Spending in the Prevention of Violent Extremism in Kogi and Nasarawa states’’, charged journalists to brings to the front burner issues capable of helping the leaders to do more on developmental projects.
“Our reporting must be inclusive, natural and event based. Reporting on budget specific issues that will douse the effect of violent extremism should always be our focus.
“It is observed that despite years of direct spending in security sector, the number of insecurity and violent extremism cases have remained high.
“There is therefore the need to take a look at grounds upon which violent extremism is grown and enlighten the government on ways to help curb the problems associated with violent extremism.”
Abraham also urged the media to always engage with the government on providing developmental projects in the country that would prevent spike in violent extremism by the youths.
Prof. Nicholas Iwokwagh, the Dean, School of Information and Communication Technology, Federal University of Technology, Minna said the media must serve their audiences with the right message capable of solidifying the country.
Iwokwagh spoke on “Media Organising and Policy Engagement Strategies to Prevent Violent Extremism’’.
He said the media served as an agenda for the society because the media was capable of bringing about the change the society desired for transformation.
He said the media had the ability to prevent violence extremism through partnership with government to influence policy priorities.
Iwokwagh charged the media to stimulate engagement with the political class and the citizens to design an agenda for preventing violence extremism.
Mr Anicetus Atakpu , the Project Coordinator on System and Structures Strengthening Approach Against Radicalisation to Violent Extremism (SARVE II) appealed to journalists to desist from fueling crisis through their write-ups.
“Journalists have a big role in ensuring that conflicts are not fueled. This is because violent is fueled by ideology.
“As journalists, we need to guide our space when it comes to violent extremism. We must ensure that conflicts do not reflect in our stories.
“Our role as journalists will either mar or make conflict situations but we must do away with reporting single story but ensure our reports are balanced to manage conflicts in the country,” he said.