The Executive Director, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani) has tasked journalists to be vigilant and identify potential conflict situations and objectively report them in order to discourage public tension and provocation; being major stakeholders in the Early Warning, Early Response (EWER) mechanism.
He said the media must rise to the occasion as policy and decision-makers have hitherto demonstrated little commitment and resources towards adequate and timely response to early warning signals to the multiple conflicts in every parts of the country.
He spoke at a one-day media training on early warning, early response reporting, organised by CISLAC and Transparency International in Nigeria (Ti-Nigeria) with support from Open Society Foundation Africa (OSF-Africa) in Lagos.
The CISLAC Executive Director said the organisation has conducted series of high-level engagements with defence and security agencies, leaders of relevant committees at the National Assembly, MDAs, civil society organisations, media groups as well as other state and non-state actors at national and state levels as parts of efforts in mitigating conflicts in the country.
Auwal affirmed that “Howbeit, an EWER system with the buy-in of communities and security operatives but without the commitments of journalists to conflict sensitive reportage, cannot be as effective as it ought to be.
“This is because journalists are the mouthpiece of the civilian populace and where information provided to the public is conflict prone, regardless of how dedicated communities and security operatives are towards early warning and early response, the triggers will always be there to ignite conflict. It is on this backdrop that we acknowledge the essential role of the media as major stakeholders in conflict prevention, through conflict sensitive reporting.”
He added that information provided to the public must remain objective and devoid of sensations that are potential triggers to conflict or violence.
The trainer, Mr. Ikem Okuhu, in his presentation titled ‘Media and Effective Early Warning and Early Response Mechanisms: Conflict Sensitive and Objective Reportage,’ urged journalists to develop a valid perspective in information interpretation, processing and analysis to promote factual and verifiable reporting that elicits early response from relevant authorities.