Defence chief meets media executives, solicits stronger cooperation

The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Lucky Irabor, on Wednesday, engaged top executives and editors of major media organisations to solicit support for the operations of the Armed forces of Nigeria.

The meeting has the theme, “Role of Media Executives and Editors in National Security and Conflict Sensitive Communication”.

Irabor said the meeting was informed by the fact that both the military and the media pursued common cause of freedom and liberty.

He said that it also  secure environment as well as looking forward to fulfilling individual desires and as a comity of nations.

He said the engagement would help the military and the media to be on the same page.

The military chief said that everyone has a role to play in nation building.

“All along, it is we versus them but I am hopeful that at the end of this parley today, you will no longer see yourself as we versus them.

“Rather, it will be an engagement about us and engagement about what binds us, which is Nigeria.

“What so ever influences one may have outside the shore either  territorial or space of Nigeria, we must begin to understand that you are the best person to keep Nigeria safe.

“No one outside of this shores loves you better than you love yourself because you are the one that meets this challenge,” he said.

The Director, Defence Information, Maj.-Gen. Jimmy Akpor, said the CDS considered media executives as most worthy to interface with, considering their standing in the spectrum of the media space.

Akpor said the media had the cardinal role to play in advancing the cause of national security.

He said that the leadership of the armed forces viewed media executives, editors and bureau chiefs as critical stakeholders that could not be ignored.

He said the meeting was conceptualised to build sustainable trust and confidence of the media as the military conduct its operations and engagements.

Akpor noted that the society approach, which the CDS had continued to advocate, was a sure way to go in overcoming various forms of security challenges confronting our nation.

He noted that with the collaboration and understanding between the armed forces and the media, both parties would henceforth be on the same page in matters of defence and national security.

“At the end of the deliberations, media executives, editors, bureau chiefs are in better position to set right the agenda for public discourse on issues of national security and conflict sensitive management are generating debate,” he said.

The Chief Executive Officer, Media Today, Charles Odenigbo, said the interface would mark a new beginning for military and media relationship in Nigeria.

Odenigbo said a road map would be developed at the end of the parley for clear understanding of the roles of the media in national security matters and conflict sensitive communication.

He said that the editors or media would have to contend with the code of ethics because the functions of the armed forces the media are very clear.

“The media is constantly looking for information backed by concrete evidence, concrete facts and they must be time bound because time is the oxygen of the Newsroom,” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that top executives from both government owned and private media organisations including the Editor-in-Chief of NAN, Mr Silas Nwoha attended the meeting.

Mr Yushau Shuaib of PR Nigeria presented a paper titled, “Fact Checking and Conflict Sensitive Communication”, at the event. (NAN)