A lecturer in the Mass Communication Department, Igbinedion University, Okada Dr. Chinedu Odoemelam has charged Nigerian Journalists to speak truth to power for the sake of winning the fight against insurgency.
In a paper he presented at the 2021 Press Week of Mass Communication Department, Edo State Polytechnic, Usen, Dr Odoemelam said that in accordance with advisory role, the Journalist is empowered to advise government on how best to tackle insurgency.
The theme of the week was, “Mass Media, Insecurity and Community Development.”
Speaking on “The Role of Journalism in the Fight against Insurgency,” he said that “Journalists can and should perform advisory roles to the government by suggesting and proffering solutions. There is clear indication as to the empowerment of the press by relevant laws and instruments to keep government on its toes in its responsibility to ensure security of lives and property.
In times of insurgency, citizens seek reliable information. Journalism has a built-in mechanism for filling this gap through the gate keeping process which ensures that only verified information reaches the audience.”
In another lecture titled, “Community Policing in National Development,” the Osoron of Usen, Chief (Engr.) Guobadia Eson said that knowledge and information about security awareness is a collective responsibility which requires formidable and structural attention of the people in the community.
He said that Nigeria is in a great dilemma and terrible state of insecurity because insecurity matter was not handled in the right perspective.
Because of the alarming rate of security challenges across the country, he said that there is a wakeup call to review the present security strategies.
In lecture titled, “Investigative Journalism in the Fight against Corruption and Insecurity,” a veteran journalist, Mr. Tony Abolo said that “Without development, there can be no security. A developing Nation that does not in fact develop cannot remain secure. It cannot remain secure for the reason that its own citizenry cannot shed its human nature.
“Today, no part of Nigeria that is not threatened. A graphic diagram of the cost of violence in Nigeria in the last 13 years is a frightening specter.”
He said that security is a constitutional duty and fundamental principle of government. He however noted that Nigeria constitution is a military derivative which is set wrongly and awkwardly
According to him, the media must utilize Public Relations techniques of consensus building, by creating understanding amongst the diverse publics to advance understanding of issues.
“The media must act circumspectly as media coverage provide terrorists organizations open source of intelligence. This is why for security reasons, the Federal Government asked for no glamorizing or excessive Reporting of terrorist events.
“Given the desire for terrorists to seek the glare of the media, it is counterproductive for the media to help spread the visuals in any shape or form of counterterrorist attacks.”
The press week featured the presentation of awards to different persons and organizations, including The Nigerian OBSERVER newspaper for being the longest surviving government owned newspaper in Nigeria; Benedict Okate of Edo Broadcasting Service and the Nigeria Television Authority for their contributions to the training of Mass Communication students of the polytechnic and the growth of the department respectively.