Ray Ekpu, renowned journalist and one of the founding fathers of Newswatch Magazine says the Nigerian Government must be open and provide credible information if the war against insecurity in the country must be won.
“My view is that the government must open up, provide more information, credible information,” Ekpu told journalists in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital at the sideline of a two-day workshop for editors on conflict and security reporting.
The training was organized by the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD).
He argued that the government has to level up with the citizens on the challenge of insecurity, adding that the government alone cannot tackle the problem.
Ekpu said citizens must also be encouraged “to come forward with information that would help the security to fight insecurity wholeheartedly.”
“The government has to level up with the citizens in this matter of insecurity. It is not a secret anymore,” he said.
“People are bombing prison, attacking train, what is the secret? There is no shame about it, it is a problem we must confront and confront frontally with the cooperation of the citizens.”
“Government alone cannot fight insecurity. It is the people who provide information.”
He also maintained that the government must at all time make information available to the press as part of efforts to win the war against insecurity.
“Government is doing itself a major harm by not disclosing a lot of information particularly on security,” he said.
“How are the journalists supposed to know what they have done at the war front? They are the ones who issue press releases.”
“We don’t have a situation that you had in the US, that the media were closely with the soldiers in Iraq. They were embedded into the soldiers. Do we have the situation where the soldiers take Nigerian journalists to the war front?”
Speaking on fake news, the veteran journalist said traditional media −print and electronic have to provide themselves with the capacity to do fact check.
“They must, because that is the source of their credibility as believable media. Newspapering or journalism is not gossip. It is fact. Facts are sacred as it is said, comment is free. So, they must provide for themselves the capacity to check facts,” he said.
He maintained that the era of ‘when in doubt, leave out’ is no longer tenable in the present-day practice as journalists have to check and cross check facts.
“We used to say in those days ‘when in doubt, leave out’, my own philosophy is when in doubt, check and cross check.”
The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), a Pro-democracy, Policy Document, and Research Think Tank, with support from the Government of the United Kingdom, through its Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, organised the two-day Workshop with the Nigeria Editors on Conflict-Sensitive Reporting in Abuja.
The parley established grounds for Solution/Peace Journalism as part of the non-conventional intervention needed to rescue Nigeria from disintegration, given the unabated insecurity challenges across the regions.
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