By Martha Agas
#TrackNigeria: As Nigeria prepares for general elections, journalists have been cautioned against using sensational and misleading headlines to ignite tension and lead to violence during polls.
Dr Austin Onuoha, a media expert and veteran journalist, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Jos on Thursday.
Onuoha expressed worry that journalists, in the quest to attract readers, often crafted headlines which might provoke negative perception of reports leading to violent reactions.
“Some people only read headlines and make their inferences from the sensationalism, which may mislead them,” he said.
The journalist, who worked with the Guardian Newspaper, and has presented papers on various issues in the media both locally and internationally, said headlines should capture the heart of the story.
“Do not use inflammatory sentences in headlines, they must be specific and not vague, as it depicts the mood of the story and helps set the tone for a report,” he advised.
Onuoha urged journalists to be conflict sensitive in their reportage during the elections considering the multi-diversity of Nigeria where societal opinion was premised on beliefs and emotions.
He said while being factual, accountable and ethical in reports, protecting humanity should however, be the priority of journalism. (NAN)