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FG charged on operational protocols for journalists reporting COVID-I9

From Esther Akaa, Lafia

The Federal Government of Nigeria has been charged to establish operational protocols that would be used by journalists covering the COVID-19 pandemic in order, to protect them from contracting the ravaging COVID-I9 virus.

In a communiqué issued at the end a 2-day media master class for journalists in Nasarawa and Kogi states, held from 3 to 4 March, 2021 at Kini Country-Inn Akwanga, Nasarawa State, journalists called on the Federal Government through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to make one-digit loans available to media houses for the post COVID-19 era and lower tariffs for media consumables, which are largely imported.

The communiqué urged journalists to serve as agents of positive change, rather than escalate conflicts in their reportage to prevent radicalisation and violent extremism towards promoting peace and harmonious relations among communities.

It further called on media professionals to uphold journalism ethics by ensuring that their reportage is accurate and balanced, while taking responsibility for their reportage as well as deploying professional skills and competencies to effect positive change in the society.

It also appealed to journalists to exhibit tolerance, accommodate and humanise their stories to prevent violent extremism by being conflict sensitive in their reportage and fair to all parties in conflict to prevent the cycle of violence.

The communiqué further called on media organisations to collaborate with government and relevant agencies towards influencing
policies that would  promote peace and encourage development.

“Reduce radicalisation to violent extremism by setting agenda for peace and development in the society through expose to budget defects towards making budgetary processes more transparent and accountable.

“Anchor reportage in budget analysis to address disposing factors to
radicalisation and violent extremism while monitoring the impact of their
reportage on issues that are related to the prevention of radicalisation to violent extremism.

“Pay attention to the needs of women, children, and youths in reports on
budgetary allocation to address issues in that sector that drive radicalisation to violent extremism while advocating for citizens active participation in the
budgetary processes to promote inclusiveness.

“Take safety precautions in the newsroom and on the field while reporting in the post COVID-19 era by employing the necessary measures, techniques, and strategies in reporting in the post COVID-19 era,” the communiqué stated.

It finally charged media owners and media managers to adapt their content to the current COVID-19 realities by developing new business models for the sustainability of media operations in Nigeria in the post COVID-19 era.

The media training with the theme: “Policy Engagement for Preventing Violent Extremism (PVE) during and post COVID-19”  in pursuance of the System and Structure Strengthening Approach against Radicalisation to Violent Extremism (SARVE II) Project was organised by ActionAid Nigeria and funded by the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund (GCERF).

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