Laleye Dipo in Minna
The role of the media in fostering national unity and cohesion as well as curbing insecurity at the weekend came under spotlight in Minna, the Niger State capital, during the state chapter of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) Niger Press Week, where most participants harped on the need for the media to avoid celebrating criminals and criminalities.
The media organisations, both privately and publicly owned, at the forum were admonished to publish reports that would unite rather than divide the country.
The speakers at the event 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. Christopher Isiguzo, and the Niger State Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello.
At the event, Malagi delivered the lead paper at the forum with the theme: ‘Media and Insecurity: Niger State in Perspective’ where he noted that the media “has critical roles to play in the struggle to tame the monster (insecurity) that is giving everyone, including the low and mighty in the society, sleepless night.
“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.”
Malagi noted, however, that journalists should report security matters with caution being also ethical and principled in their reportage to avoid over harping on 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 public to rise to the challenge of combating rising insecurity in the country by embarking on communication–based approaches that would effectively stigmatise such act (crime) in the society.”
On his part, the National President of the NUJ, Isiguzo, noted that the cases of insecurity prevailing in some parts of the country is threatening the peace and stability of the country, and as such, the media should find a way to arrest the situation, warning 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 as well as assume the true role of the fourth estate of the realm by holding those in positions of authority accountable to the people.