The Nigerian media has been urged to avoid negative reporting on peace building.
The Director-General of the National Orientation Agency, Dr. Garba Abari was speaking at a round-table on the role of the media in reporting peace-building processes and other counter-terrorism narratives in Nigeria.
Dr. Abari said that peace building and reportage requires a specialised approach by media organisations that would afford the public quality and timely information on government initiatives.
This in turn would bring peace to conflict zones, particularly the North-East that has experienced the effects of the Boko Haram insurgency.
“The North-East has become a focal point in global affairs. Nigeria is winning the war on terror. The Boko Haram sect has been subdued, now local communities have come up with new strategies to protect themselves from bombings and other activities of the insurgents,” he said.
Pulling resources together
The Executive Director News, Ahaziah Suleiman, told the gathering that VON has through its programme, “BEYOND BULLETS:ROAD MAP TO PEACE”, projects efforts of the Nigerian Armed Forces to stabilise North-Eastern Nigeria.
He urged all government agencies and media organisations to rally resources to quell negative narratives that lure vulnerable segments of society.
With effective jingles, programming and reportage, he observed that it would be difficult for terror organisations to recruit members of the populace for their activities.
Curbing extremist narrative
In his presentation, the Executive Director of Peace Building Development Foundation, Kayode Bolaji observed that extremist narratives cannot be displaced by simple messages and stories.
Bolaji, therefore, stressed on the need for a holistic collaboration of both public and private media organisations to adopt a three-step approach: alternative narrative, counter-narrative and government strategic communication.
Based on research, Bolaji said, “Nigerian media practitioners must propagate peace journalism to build a united, secured nation”.
The round-table comes as the Nigerian government consolidates on the gains made in the North-East through routing remnants of the Boko Haram insurgents scattered across the region and reconstruction and resettlement of Internally Displaced Persons.