Ethno-religious conflicts: Group advises journalists to be peace agents

The Centre for the Study of African Culture and Communication (CESACC), on Friday in Port Harcourt, called on journalists to be peace agents in the resolution of ethno-religious conflicts in Nigeria.

CESACC, in collaboration with the Catholic Institute of West Africa (CIWA), made the call at a one-day media training organised by Cardinal Onaiyekan Foundation for Peace.






The training has as its theme, “Ethno-Religious Conflict and Peace Journalism in Volatile Society: The Role of The Media in Rivers State, Nigeria”.

Prof. Joseph Faniran, CIWA Dean of Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, said that the training was aimed at emphasising on one of the roles of the media as peace agents in a conflict society.






“We have noticed that ethno-religious crises and incessant killings have been on the rise in the country, what is the role of the media in ensuring peace; should the media instigate peace or fuel the crises?

“We have noticed that ethnic conflicts have begun to rear its ugly head in Rivers, what is the role of the media in promoting peace in the state?







“We are calling on media practitioners to enhance peace through their reports because Cardinal Foundation for Peace has been preaching peace since 2017, especially on ethno-religious conflicts,” Faniran said.

In his remarks, Mr Paulinus Nsirim, Rivers Commissioner for Information commended the organisers for choosing Rivers for the training programme.







Nsirim, represented by Mr Val Ugboma, a Director in the Information Ministry, said that Rivers had been relatively peaceful as regards ethno-religious conflicts.

To maintain peace in the society, he urged journalists to shun sensationalism in their reportage and be thorough in their investigations, especially while covering conflict and volatile areas.

Similarly, Mr Boye Salau, Guest Speaker and Business Editor, Tide newspapers, called on media owners to improve the welfare and training of their reporters.







Salau urged government to provide adequate safety for journalists in conflict zones and give them access to necessary information.

“There is a need for government to avoid the temptation of censoring news or gagging the media,’’ he said.







He pointed out that by gagging the press the government could create room for rumour mongering,  propaganda, hate speech and speculative journalism. (NAN)