NSA cautions media managers against promoting terrorists’ propaganda

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The National Security Adviser (NSA), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, has cautioned media managers against promoting terrorists’ propaganda and ideologies through reportage of security issues.

Ribadu gave the advice at a 2-Day training on “Effective Reporting: Towards Strengthening Alternatives to Terrorist Ideology”, on Tuesday in Abuja.

It  was organised by the National Counter-Terrorism Centre – Office of the National Security Adviser (NCTC-ONSA

He was represented at the training by the National Coordinator, NCTC, Maj.-Gen. Adamu Laka.

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The training was organised in collaboration with the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR).

The NSA said the kind of information being processed and passed could be functional with positive expectations, or dysfunctional with negative and life threatening consequences.

He said that the media as a conveyor belt of information could influence either positively or negatively.

According to him, the press is capable of exercising power in favour of the state or in favour of the enemies of the state.

“Media practitioners must always be mindful of this in the discharge of their responsibilities in order to expose societal ills and suspicious characters and activities.

 “Terrorist groups have continued to provide dysfunctional information through social media platforms, networking sites, and online propaganda including mainstream and traditional mediums of communication.

“This is a situation that we must jointly combat to attain a safe and peaceful society that will guarantee sustainable socio-economic development.

“To achieve this,  media practitioners must produce content that would counter or prevent the appeals of terrorism and other non-state armed groups.

“Indeed, there is the need for robust media campaigns against terrorism, violent extremism and all other forms of organised crime threatening our corporate existence as a country,” he said.

Ribadu said the training was part of efforts in response to the call by the UN Secretary General’s Plan of Action for member states to develop and implement a national communication strategy.

This, according to him, is to ensure the dissemination of positive content across a wide range of media, both traditional and digital platforms to counter terrorist appeals and violent extremist narrative.

He said that media contents could change people’s perception and attitude; galvanise solidarity, mutual trust, patriotism and national cohesion.

“The media is also expected to mobilise support to government and national security efforts, and strongly help to dissipate ignorance that makes some persons vulnerable to terrorist appeals.

“This training is to build your capacity to be able to process and disseminate appropriate narratives (counter, alternative and positive) to address extremist ideologies.

“I urge you to avail yourselves of this opportunity to learn from the vast experiences of the resource persons drafted to interact with you.

“It is our hope to develop the capacity of a reasonable number of journalists and media practitioners in the country, in order to evolve a development and peace journalism orientation in the Nigeria media space,” he added.

The  Director, National Peace Academy (NPA) in IPCR, Dr Bosede Awodola, said the IPCR believed that peace was an all-inclusive process, hence the need for partnership with NCTC to organise the workshop.

Awodola said that Nigeria’s democracy was being seriously challenged and her peace constantly threatened by the activities of terrorist groups.

She said the problem was increasingly pervasive with associated criminality that was heightening the fear and insecurity in the country.

“Realising the importance of the soft power approach, the IPCR understands the pivotal role of the media in this instance.

“We must take into cognisance that the media and its agencies are capable of reducing and transforming these conflicts through  their reportage.

“The media in Nigeria and indeed globally, remains the most credible source of news and information for the majority of people.

“It is therefore essential that this training is conducted for media personnel working in relations with the NCTC to enable an improvement in the reportage of events.

Awodola expressed confidence that the engagement would upscale the skills of the media personnel in their techniques, on reporting that will change the way terrorism ideology and activities are reported. (NAN)

By Sumaila Ogbaje

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