From Teryima Ajijah, Jos
The Plateau Peace Building Agency (PPBA) a state government owned agency tasked with the responsibility of mediating in civil unrest has charged journalists practicing in the state to be ethical and objective in reporting conflicts.
Director General, PPBA, Dr Joseph Lengma made the appeal in Jos, during a one-day consultative meeting with media stakeholders, on Wednesday, tagged “taking advantage of the convergence of news media in reporting the farmer and herder conflict in Plateau state.”
Dr Lengma, who spoke at the forum through the Media Officer of the agency, Mr Kenneth Dakop, cautioned journalists to report issues that could de-escalate conflict situation.
The peace agency said it has an early warning mitigation system where they de-escalate conflicts situations to security operatives.
It also noted that some purported conflicts between farmers and herders in Plateau State were mere criminality among the people.
Victims of farmer/herder clashes whose lands are allegedly taken over by suspected attackers were encouraged to approach the court for legal redress through the recently established “Anti Land Grabbing Act” in the state.
Again, journalists, were charged not to be emotional and sensational in any conflict report, even when they are directly affected.
PPBA also maintained that security operatives charged with the responsibility of securing citizens must be up and doing in their given responsibility to secure lives and property of citizens.
Participants noted that some government officials in the state withhold sensitive information from journalists, hence the unbalanced reportage of most media organizations.
The consultative meeting with media stakeholders, according to officials of PPBA, is aimed at strategizing and strengthening the relationship between journalists and the agency; the forum would continue until solutions are established.
35 journalists from different media organizations, including with The Voice Newspaper participated in the meeting.