Media practitioner and writer, Boye Salau, has tasked journalists to ensure that the interest of the society prevails over the interest of an individual in their reportage of conflict situations, for the maintenance of peace at every given time. Giving the charge as the guest speaker at a workshop with the theme, “Ethno religious conflict and peace journalism in volatile societies: the role of the media in Rivers State, Nigeria”, held at Catholic Institute of West Africa, CIWA,PortHarcourt, Salau stressed that peace oriented journalism should be an integral part of any good report. While tasking media practitioners on proper reportage of sensitive information they get, Salau enjoined leaders to be well guided in their utterances.
He said: “Irrespective of our religious affiliation, we must promote peace. And it is in that respect that I will plead with our leaders to be well guided in their utterances, to be very careful. Then, the media too, should know how to report sensitive information they get.” Chief Host, and Senior Lecturer, Catholic Institute of West Africa, Rt. Rev. Msgr. (Prof.) Joseph Oladeji Faniran noted that imbibing the practice of peaceful journalism should be the panacea for conflict resolution in the country.
He said: “Once you know that what you are doing as a journalist is to bring peace to the world, is to bring joy to the world, is to bring happiness to the world, is to bring progress to the world; that should give you the satisfaction, not the money, not pleasing any government nor pleasing any particular owner of the media. “The government needs to come in here; they need to give necessary insurance cover to journalists. Of significance to stake holders is the need to improve the welfare package of journalists in the country, while ensuring their training and retraining to shield them from sensationalism, falling prey to individual gimmicks and other hazards associated with the job.” Rev. Fr. (Dr). Gerald Musa, Senior lecturer, Catholic Institute of West Africa, noted that conflict is not just as a result of the immediate situation, but as a result of unjust structures in the country “It’s also to propagate what Cardinal Onaikan Foundation for Peace stands for; that they propagate peace.
They also want people to understand that conflict is not just as a result of the immediate situation, but as a result of unjust structures that we have”, he said. On his part, Val Ugboma, Director, Publication, Rivers State Ministry of information urged journalist to always be guided by their conscience in their reportage. “Those who carry the banner of journalist must know that it is a thing of conscience” he said. He said that such workshops would help reconnect the people, trace their identity and redirect them to their culture. The workshop had in attendance practicing journalists in Rivers State, religious leaders, students of communication from the Catholic Institute of West Africa (CIWA), among other stakeholders