USIP, Daily Trust Foundation train journalists on peacebuilding

From Lami Sadiq & Maryam Ahmadu-Suka, Kaduna

The United States Institute of Peace (USIP) in collaboration with the Daily Trust Foundation has organised a one-day Policy Roundtable on Media and Peacebuiding in Nigeria with a view to strengthen the capacity of journalists in peacebuilding and conflict transformation.

Daily Trust reports that stakeholders at the one-day Policy Roundtable include veteran journalists and editors, representatives of the Kaduna state Peace Commission and the Plateau state Peace Building Agency as well as field journalists and other stakeholders from Kaduna, Plateau and the FCT.

Speaking at the event, the Country Manager, USIP, Ambassador Zango Abdu said because peace is at the bedrock of sustainable development, it is hoped that the engagement will lead to positive strides adding that the media has a crucial role to play in addressing the security challenges facing Nigeria.

Zango disclosed that the USIP is an independent institution established by the US congress to strengthen the nation’s capacity to promote peaceful resolutions and international conflict. “The aim of the round table: ‘The Media and Peace building in Nigeria’ is to bring together stakeholders to share their experiences and perspectives especially on the role of journalists and the media in peace building and conflict transformation in Nigeria. The meeting is to highlight the challenges and possibly come out with a roadmap towards achieving peace,” he said.
Former Chief Executive Officer, Media Trust Limited and board member of Daily Trust Foundation, Malam Mannir Dan-Ali stressed the need for the media to play its role in peace building by being factual in its reportage adding that to live in peace is better than being a Prince.

While calling on journalists to stick to the ethics of the profession and avoid sensational reportage that will endanger the country’s collective peace, he said the Daily Trust Foundation, since its conception years ago has assisted several causes including the Internally Displaced Persons and the less privileged in the society.

“The scope of the Foundation has been expanding from doing just Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to doing a lot of capacity building for journalists. And because the core value of the parent company; Media Trust is Peace Building and African values, it was almost natural to partner with USIP since we have always believed in peace and the fact that one cannot achieve anything without peace,” he said.

Speaking on behalf of the Kaduna state Government, the Special Adviser to Governor Nasir El-Rufai on Media and Communication, Muyiwa Adekeye observed that Kaduna state has a plurality of media organisations but questioned how well such plurality has worked in the interest of peace and unity.

“It is unfortunate that the media has elevated the views and opinions of groups who have become a danger to our collective peace in the society. The danger is that if you blur the line between journalism and blogging, we will have more problems,” he said.

On his part, the Conveyer, Arewa Research and Development Project (ARDP), Dr. Usman Bugaje while contributing to the discussion on the challenges of journalists across the country advocated for a shutdown of media houses that are unable to pay staff salaries, saying: “It has a dire effect on the security of the country in terms of reportage.”

Bugaje emphasised the need for the media to take steps in educating social media users and the general public on the consequences of false or inciting write ups or comments.

According to him, “Journalists should not close their eyes to bad governance because they are also citizens and they are in a position to allow certain information to flow to create the need for development.”’

Daily Trust reports that the roundtable comprised of two sessions including discussions on the role of media in conflict situation/conflict transformation, media reportage of inter-communal conflicts, media and strategic communication as well as media and nation building among others.