As the December 5 governorship election in Bayelsa State draws near, media professionals have been tasked on responsible media coverage on conflict.
This was the thrust of a three-day training workshop for journalists organised by the Nigerian Stability and Reconciliation Programmes, NSRP, in collaboration with the British Council in Yenagoa.
The media manager of NSRP, AbdulSalam Laurato said the training was meant to educate and support journalists on conflict sensitive communication; how to identity issues that can generate conflict and how to become neutral when they are reporting election and pre and post election result.
She said further that after the three-day workshop, the journalist must be well equipped to report these coming elections in terms of their professional conduct, knowledge in research and balancing of their reports where there are issues of elections.
Winifred Achu, programme officer, Niger Delta regional officer, said the mandate was to ensure that violent conflicts were resolved in non-violent way, and the election. “This programme is one of our interventions to ensure that violence during or after elections are minimised in Bayelsa State. And also to build journalists’ capacity to report the election in conflict sensitive manner and even after the election to utilise the skill they have learnt in a competitive reporting to improve their work as journalists in the Bayelsa State.”
Recounting his challenges, a participant, Mr. Clement Ofuokwu said journalists believed in the status quo. The reason being that the owner of the publication does not want things to go the way they (journalists) want it, “but I think that actually is our responsibility to course that thing to happen you cannot get it. If you don’t take it reaction even though the owner or politician may not want you to report the fact but as a journalist is your duty to report the fact irrespective of who is involved.
“Another is the issue of salary most journalists are paid. Because of the so little are paid they take bribe. The implication is that the right stories are not published; the person who is publishing the story has been influenced with money.
“Every journalist who participated in this programme has something to take home. Change does not come over night; it’s a gradual process. What we have learnt and the promise made by the participants will make sure that things are going to change in our societies.
Another participant, Alambo Datonye from Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, FRCN, said as media professional, “I have a responsibility to the society, especially the upcoming election, looking at the tension in the society, so that conflict will not escalate with crisis, which in long term will affect everybody in the state.”
“In terms of investigation, we need to be thorough and in the area of research, when handling our top story we need to do thorough research.”

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