By Laleye Dipo
The role of the media in fostering national unity, cohesion and curbing insecurity came under spotlight in Minna, Niger State weekend, during the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) state chapter press week where most participants harped on the need for the media to stop celebrating criminals and criminality.
The press, both private and public-owned, were also at the forum admonished to publish reports that will unite rather than divide the nation.
The speakers included the National Secretary of the Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN) and Publisher of Blue Print Newspapers, Alhaji Ibrahim Malagi, the National President of the NUJ, Mr Chris Isiguzo, and the Niger State Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello.
Malagi delivered the lead paper at the forum which has as its theme: ‘Media and Insecurity Niger State in Perspective’ during which he noted that the media “has critical roles to play in the struggle to tame the monstrosity that is giving everyone, including the low and mighty in the society sleepless nights – insecurity”.
“In confronting the escalating challenges of insecurity in the country, the media, government and security agencies at all levels including the citizens, must be on the same page,” he said.
Malagi noted however that journalists should report security matters with caution being also ethical and principled in their reportage, to avoid over harping certain issues that have the capacity to dampen the efforts of the security agencies thereby threatening national security.
Represented by a former Chief Press Secretary to the Niger State Governor, Jibrin Baba Ndace, the NPAN scribe
challenged “the media and the general public to rise to the challenge of combating rising insecurity in the nation by embarking on communication-based approaches that would effectively stigmatize such acts in the society”.
On his part, the National President of the NUJ, Isiguzo, noted that the cases of insecurity prevailing in parts of the country is threatening its peace and stability, as such the media should find a way to arrest the situation, adding that: “The worsening insecurity we are facing is threatening our national life and unity.”
Isiguzo stressed the need for the media to galvanise support for the fight against insecurity and also assume the true role of the fourth estate of the realm by holding those in positions
of authority accountable to the people.
“There is the need for us as journalists to speak against all forms of insecurity and criminality we are facing in Nigeria today. This will prompt the federal government to tackle the menace decisively,” he declared
The Niger State Governor Alhaji Bello, who was represented by the Commissioner for Water Resources, Alhaji Yusuf Suleiman, charged journalists to always abide by the ethics of their profession in carrying out their jobs.
Bello said that the state government is doing everything possible to equip its media organisations to ensure maximum output from journalists operating in the state
The union, at the event, honoured many dignitaries and corporate organisations for their contributions to the growth and development of the profession in Niger State and Nigeria.