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2023: NGO trains journalists on conflicts sensitive reporting

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An international NGO, Search for Common Ground (SFCG) , has trained journalists in Abuja to gain the requisite skills in conflicts and sensitive reporting,  mitigation of misinformation and disinformation.

SFCG,  with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the U.S.-based National Democratic Institute (NDI), had trained the journalists against the 2023 general elections.

The training had sessions on fact-based reporting, protective journalism, and networking, role of media as change agents, promotion of peace and democratic values in reporting news.
It also trained participants in the use of technology to track fake news, among others.

Speaking, Mr Perry Tukuwei, the Project Coordinator, SFCG and an election and governance specialist, told pressmen that the training was organised for journalists, broadcasters and social media influencers, among others.

He said the capacity of civil society organisations was also strengthened in office sensitive principles, as well as steps to mitigate hate speech.

Tukuwei stressed that the training would strengthen the capacity of journalists to be agents of change to drive conversation of inclusive governance processes for women, youths, Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) and Internally Displaced Persons.

“We hope to see how we can mitigate the upsurge in hate speech, misinformation and disinformation; we know that the fourth estate of the realm plays a key role in shaping narratives and stereotypes.

“Once we strengthen the capacity of media stakeholders, they can begin to drive these messages within their networks and we can change the negative narratives.

“At the end of this training, we want journalists to have it at the back of their minds that we are training them on common ground approach,’’ he said.

Tukuwei noted also that there was need for media practitioners to work together to achieve success.

He said one of the action plans from the training would be to set up a Common Ground Journalism Forum so journalists could carry out initiatives to drive democracy and inclusiveness in the electoral process.
Tukuwei said that the training was also replicated in Anambra, Ekiti and Osun and on the national scale because of the presidential election and more would be conducted when the off-cycle elections come.

Mr Temisan Etietsola, National Media Specialist, SFCG, said there was the need for media practitioners to contribute to peace-building and to social change.

Etietsola said the media could also play roles to build confidence, seek solutions, inspire, educate and entertain the nation without compromising the basic principles of true journalism.

“Wherever and whenever there are tensions, the media have a crucial role to play; they can inflame the situation or they can use their considerable power to defuse tension.

“In other words, they can be part of the problem or they can be part of the solution; media can provide four key things to enable social change.

“Journalists can clarify issues and raises awareness, they can counter rumours, and provide accurate and reliable news and information,’’ he said.

Etietsola called on journalists to always examines issues impartially and cover such issues with inclusivity, reflecting diverse perspectives.

He also urged them to give voice to the voiceless, enable dialogue and understanding, respect the interests of others and propose options andsolutions to conflicts.

He called on journalists to seek solutions and strengthen relationships, reduce stereotypes, prejudice and misconceptions and encourage flexibility and openness to others. (NAN

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