By Tony Obiechina
As a build-up to the 2019 elections, the British Council in Nigeria has concluded a 2 Day Capacity Development Workshop in Abuja, geared towards honing the writing skills of Journalists for crisis free Nigeria, self actualization and economic development.
In a statement made available to Daily Asset in Abuja on Friday, the Council it said the need to enhance the capacity of journalists especially in the dizzying fast paced digital era where information are pushed unhindered into the media space has become imperative.
With experts and professionals drawn from various fields, the workshop addressed key and critical issues as it affects the media, children and the all inclusive society. Journalists were also drawn from the print, electronic, online and social media enhancers.
Critical and germane issues discussed include: ‘Upholding journalism ethics in the age of social media- sifting facts from fake news; Conflict sensitive journalism; Equality Diversity and Inclusion in the Nigerian media; Collaborations in the media space; Storytelling in contemporary Nigeria; Child Protection and Impact of our activities on the environment.
While acknowledging the role the media plays in building or destroying societies, the statement said: “The media’s role in educating, informing, entertaining and influencing public opinion in Nigeria has been more critical in recent times.
“This follows digital access where everyone and anyone can assume the role of a journalist. The two day session featured thought leaders in the field of journalism, branding and marketing.”
Speaking on ‘Upholding journalism ethics in the age of social media – Sifting facts from fake news, Mr. Arukaino Umukoro, CNN/Multichoice African Journalist of the year mentioned the importance of verifying facts before publication in the media. Sharing a few case studies where fake news has led to fatality, he drew the team’s attention to its professional ethics in spite of the digital pace and pressure to break a news item.
Another speaker at the session, Lauratu Umar Abdusalam, Communication Specialist and Media Engagement Advisor, Palladium led on ‘Conflict Sensitivity in Journalism’ where she spoke on the need for restraints on the part of practitioners to uphold ethical and conflict sensitive towards reporting especially as the 2019 gets closer.
Mr. Lanre Phillips of Elpee Consulting, a Sales/ Marketing and Brand professional stressed the essence of creativity in storytelling in the news room to carry readers and listen along.
The breathtaking sections also saw Mr. Chiagozie Nwonwu, a Senior Broadcast Journalist at the BBC’s new Igbo Language service engaging narrative on the essence of collaboration for enhanced media space coverage.
On why the British Council has decided to invest in the Nigeria through capacity building, Louisa Waddingham, Director of Programmes, at the Council noted the huge role played by the media in Nigeria.
She said the British Council is the UK’s International Organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities and the different programmes carried out by the organisation are focused on creating opportunities for people in Nigeria.
According to her, this includes providing platforms where knowledge can be shared amongst key stakeholders that will prompt development.
On his part, Dr. Bob Arnot, Programme Director, Managing Conflict in Nigeria (MCN)/ Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption (ROLAC), explained how working with the police in Nigeria has provided an opportunity for a perception change through different training initiatives across the country.
He said: “These initiatives are from earlier programmes run by the British Council like the Justice for All programme.”
According to him, efforts through the various projects of the Council across the 6 geopolitical zones have proven that conflicts can be resolved in an all compassing mode when traditional rulers involve their wives in dispute resolution using ADR.