By VICTOR ADEOTI
Osogbo- An NGO, Search For Common Ground, has urged media practitioners to always be factual in their reportage and avoid fake news for the sustainability of the nation’s democratic growth.
The National Media Specialist of the group, Mr Temisan Etielsola, said at a four-day workshop for newsmen in Osogbo that hate speech, fake news, illiteracy, conflict and violence, were some of the issues militating against democratic growth in Nigeria.
Etielsola said that tension generated by the factors were not good for democratic growth and could lead to further violence and conflict in the country, with people taking sides.
He appealed to journalists to always be aware of their responsibilities and as well recognise the power of their minds and language, which could either promote or hinder peace in the country.
Etielsola noted that conflict situations arising from electoral activities would be better managed, if they were tackled, using the “Common Ground Approach” as well as fact-based reportage by journalists.
According to him, the approach emphasises commonalities as against differences between groups for the purpose of living together in peace
He also said that democracy in the country would continue to grow stronger, if all stakeholders were continuously engaged to collaborate for greater effectiveness.
“Media practitioners, who have the mandate to report situations and inform the people must themselves learn how to manage conflict.
“It is their duty to de-escalate any tensed situation by being responsible in their reportage.
“They will be able to do this better when they have a deep understanding of their role in the society, the root causes of conflicts and the obstacles,” he said.
Also, the Project’s Media Coordinator of the NGO, Perry Tukuwei, urged media practitioners to be purposeful in rejecting hate speech that could lead to instability in a multi-ethnic country like Nigeria.
Tukuwei also appealed to media practitioners to avoid sensational reportage and develop a critical mindset that would promote peaceful coexistence in the country. (NAN)
By VICTOR ADEOTI