Journalists in Rivers State have been trained on early warning and early response reporting on conflict issues.
The one-day training, which took place in Port Harcourt, has the attendance of selected media houses from both electronic, radio, television and print.
In his opening remarks, Auwal Ibrahim Musa, executive director of Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), represented by Abubakar Jimoh Communication Specialist CISLAC, said the training was necessary because of the number of incidences arising from conflict reportage, adding that journalists should know how to write reports that will not increase tension but rather reduce it.
He explained that conflict reportage was core in managing the choice of words, headline that are not sensational to escalate conflict but to de-escalate it to bring development to various communities.
The Executive Director further explained that the importance of training journalists cannot be overstressed since the media mirror the society and that any wrong signal sent by them in the area of news can cause misunderstanding which can also result to conflict and loss of property or even lives.
Earlier, the Resource Person, David Vereba had discussed extensively on a number of factors that could generate conflict when journalists are reporting issues.
Vereba said that the role of the media in conflict resolution can make or mar the situation depending on how the journalist handle the reportage.
He noted that conflicts must arise as a natural phenomenon since it is everyday occurrence in society, noting however, that the way journalists report such matters can add fire to it or reduce crisis.
The University Don also that Chieftaincy tussle, land matters, natural disasters, oil spills, pandemic, economic collapse as factors that can generate conflict if not handled with necessary precaution.
On mapping he said the role of journalists must include good framing of the story for societal development.
“Journalists should resist how to manipulate information during reporting,” he advised.
The Don condemned the use of hate speech to reduce trauma, stress and accident among journalists, while calling on them to still be objective in their report especially issues on gender particularly women, girl child and children and they should give voice to the communities.
The Senior Programme Officer of CISLAC on Peace and Security, Bertha Ogbini urged media practitioners to be safety-conscious in covering events since they need to stay alive.