Conflict reporting: NGO tasks journalists on professionalism

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Lokoja  –  Mr Isa Husaini, the Media Coordinator, Search For Common Ground (SFCG), an NGO, on Saturday said that professional journalism could help society prevents conflict from turning into violence.

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Husaini disclosed this during a 2-day SFCG journalism training for Synergy Reporting held at SAATOF Hotels and Suite in Lokoja for media practitioners.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the training was organised by SFCG in collaboration with National Development Institute (NDI), Transition Monitoring Group (TMG) and Election Empowerment of Civil Society Project (EECSP).

Husaini said that when an issue was not professionally reported by journalists it could transform from conflict into violence.

He said that a good journalist should not only report on the positions of the parties involved, but also on the underlined interests.

“If we interview two people in conflict without speaking to other interested parties and observers, we will not be able to present the situation accurately.

“As professional journalists, we must double check our assumptions, and attribute actions or views to specific actors, not to the whole parties,’’ he said.

Husaini said that conflict happened when two or more individuals or groups pursued goals or ambitions, which they believed were incompatible.

He noted that conflict was a normal occurrence in human societies, but conflict and violence were not the same.

According to him, conflict, when peacefully managed could lead to positive results, but if poorly handled it could result to violence.

Husaini stated that there could be root or latent causes of conflict; saying the root causes are the sources of the conflict while the latent are the secondary factors that brings the conflict to the surface.

“If society provides a peaceful debate and decision making process, changes will take place peacefully, but when absent, violence will definitely come.
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“Conflict itself is neither positive nor negative; it is only violent conflict that is negative and driven by equitable distribution of resources or power.

“Most violent conflicts result sometimes from widely differing incompatible views, ideas, ideals and perceptions.

“Some common things between the worrying factions must be looked out for and use as points of resolutions.

“For peace to be sustained, conflict must be transformed, and transformation is only possible through communication,’’ Husaini explained.

The media coordinator, however, said that cooperative approach in contrast would allow the parties to focus on the issues rather than each other.

According to him, this would facilitate their working together to resolving issues affecting their fundamental human rights. (NAN)

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