Governor of Plateau State, Simon Bako Lalong, has advised media organisations and journalists to continuously re-define new value system based on God’s desire for the nation to love one another, serve one another and be honest to one another in this critical period of electioneering.
Lalong stated this early in the week during the occasion of UNDP capacity building workshop for media a group on Conflict Sensitivity Reportage ahead of 2019 General Elections in collaboration with the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs held in Jos, Plateau State. He added that not being our brother’s keeper would see Nigerians as chasing shadows in our quest for objective reportage, sanity and greatness.
The governor who was represented by John Wadili, Director and Documentation equally said that it is a fact that electoral violence or conflict usually triggers greater challenges for journalists especially when opposing sides seek to control the information.
He stated that a situation like this is worsened by the old journalism adage which says “He who pays the piper dictates the tune”, saying media owners may want to dictate for the journalists how or what they should report.
He charged participants to wake up to the reality and take every aspect of the deliberations very seriously with a view to applying them in the forthcoming elections in few days, saying “This is because in my view, Conflict – Sensitive Journalism or Reportage of an election as encapsulated in this workshop is very crucial now as it empowers reporters to report conflicts professionally without feeding the flames of violence.
“The task ahead of us is enormous for us to succeed as a prosperous nation and society, we must draw from the lessons of the past in order to strategically build on where we are today for a prosperous tomorrow. Most critically too, we must resolve to imbibe the core values of diligence, honesty and objective reportage, commitment to duty, respect for our traditional s, loyalty to the state and above all, the fear of God”.
He emphasized that the attitudinal reawakening is a potent recipe for solid and enduring legacy in national building, adding that it is incumbent in us to inculcate values and attitudinal reawakening in our younger generations when their minds are still fertile, magnetic and receptive of ideas. No doubt this centre has distinguished itself through relentless commitment to the development of the society and country at large, he stated.
He also said as professionals, the media and journalists owe the public the responsibility of self censoring reportage to avoid vitriolic sentiments, saying this is even most critical as during elections tensions are often high among contending political parties. Hence the public can only make well informed decisions based on the accuracy and quality of the stories disseminated by the media.