Africa’s foremost security newspaper, HumAngle, on Wednesday held a conference on the intersection of media, humanitarian and security sectors in managing conflict in Nigeria.
The panelists at the conference which was held in Abuja discussed various ways in which the three crucial sectors can enhance trust and boost collaboration towards the elimination of conflict and humanitarian crises.
The panel session, moderated by the Director of HumAngle Foundation, Oluwatosin Alagbe, had HumAngle’s Managing Editor, Hauwa Shaffii Nuhu; Security Analyst and CEO of Beacon Consulting, Kabir Adamu; and CEO of Dataphyte, Joshua Olufemi as panelists.
Explaining how the media can report conflicts without fuelling tensions among citizens, Hauwa encouraged journalists to be factual and also admonished the government and all concerned stakeholders to take the work of journalists seriously because they are constantly on the field.
“They (journalists) are in a better position to offer accurate information as they have first hand knowledge garnered through constant interaction with those affected by conflict. Another important thing which will enhance trust between the media, security, and other sectors is the realisation that certain reports are not deliberately done to ridicule certain sectors but are merely the reportage of facts as seen.”
On his part, Olufemi encouraged journalists to be ethical saying “they should always ask themselves what is driving their work. Is it money? Advocacy?”, he queried. “They should rather take feedback from humanitarian and security agencies when they point out what they have not reported well. Cultivate the feedback and implement them.”
The third panelist, Adamu, through his experience in the security sector, explained that security forces must build trust through transparency, accountability, and commitment.
Adamu noted that the operation of the media and security sectors are significantly influenced by the legacy of Nigeria’s long history of military rule “such that current stakeholders in the security sector still view things through the prism of principles around state secret and confidentiality of their work.”
The panelists also discussed the role of technology in fostering collaboration between the sectors. According to Olufemi information sharing and withholding is one of the factors that cause the friction between the sectors and this can only be solved through technology.
“Technology should be put in the middle to enhance or enable or innovate better ways to solve the communication issue and other challenges we may have.”
Corroborating this, Hauwa pointed out the work that HumAngle does with the KNIFAR women and how people centered technology plays a role.
“Technology from the ideation stage should make room for people in rural areas who do not have easy access to technology,” she said. “The three sectors should engage at crucial points of their work. They should all understand.”
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