ROTARY CLUB OF PORT HARCOURT COSMOPOLITAN AND THE NIGERIA UNION OF JOURNALIST (NUJ), RIVERS STATE COUNCIL 

ONE DAY TRAINING ON PEACE AND CONFLICT RESOLUTION AND PREVENTION.

FEBRUARY EMPHASIS PEACE AND CONFLICT PREVENTION/RESOLUTION

February Emphasis: The challenge of world peace…is the most pressing imperative of our time…In a world which possess the means of self-destruction, if we do not find the path of peace, whatever else we do won’t make much difference. Charles C. Keller, R.I. President, 1987-88. Address to 1987 Rotary International Convention, Munich, Germany.

PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE (IBIM SEMENITARI, President, 2018/19 RC PH Cosmopolitan).

CONFLICT RESOLUTION: WHY THE MEDIA IS CRITICAL

Information is power, and insight can impact on public discourse. Different types of media are utilized globally to distribute knowledge and idealistically, free mass media is a tool of and signpost for democracy. Freedom of expression is not only the core of a healthy media, but also fundamental human right and vital for democratic structure. It stands for freedom of speech, the right to information and the representation of different opinions in a heterogeneous society. Note the words, heterogeneous society. That means the media must reflect all shades, opinions, varieties and aspects of society.

It means that the Media cannot elect to be partisan or biased if it hopes to be authentic of a purveyor of democratic growth and peaceful societies. In any culture of prevention, effective and democratic media are an essential part and indispensable for societies trying to make a transition towards peace and democracy. A former President of the United States, Harry S. Truman once said “You can never get all the facts from just one Newspaper, and unless you have all the facts, you cannot make proper judgments about what is going on. This statement reflects the need for free access to unbiased information. Not giving people the possibility of political participation and not allowing them to express themselves freely is a significant cause of conflict. On the one hand free, independent and pluralistic media provide a platform for debate and different opinions. On the other hand, Media can be misused for propaganda purposes, to incite hatred and spread rumuors and therefore artificially create tension.

THIS ONE DAY TRAINING BY ROTARY CLUB OF PORT HARCOURT COSMOPOLITAN IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE NIGERIA UNION OF JOURNALISTS, AIMS AT IMPROVING THE CAPACITY OF JOURNALISTS TO FULFIL THEIR ROLES AS PEACE HARBINGERS OF SOCIETY.

Conflict and Violence displaced more than 68 million people in the past years, and half of those persons are children. As Rotarians, “We refuse to accept conflicts as a way of life. Rotary projects provide training that fosters understanding and provides communities with the skills to resolve conflicts”.

It is for this reasons that I must sincerely request you our dear friends and partners in the Media, to join us as we take action to change our Communities starting from ourselves. Let’s all please “Be the Inspiration” to bring about peace and bridge the gap in our world.

ROTARIAN CODE OF CONDUCT

As a Rotarian, I will:

  1. Act with integrity and high standards in my personal and professional life
  2. Deal fairly with others and treat them and their occupations with respect
  3. Use my professional skills through Rotary to mentor young people, help those with special needs, and improve people’s quality of life in my community and in the world
  4. Avoid behavior that reflects adversely on Rotary or other Rotarians.

ADDRESS PRESENTED BY THE CHAIRMAN (STANLEY JOB STANLEY), NIGERIA UNION OF JOURNALISTS (NUJ), RIVERS STATE COUNCIL.

The chairman welcome participants, colleagues and resource persons to this important event aimed at identifying the role of Media in Peace and Conflict Resolutions and Prevention. He emphasized that the topic is apt considering the critical period where the government of Nigeria is saddled with the onerous responsibility of conducting, free, credible and peaceful elections for her citizens. Journalists have important role in the promotion of peace building, resolutions and prevention of conflicts in the reportage of their day to day events in the country, especially in this era of fake news. Conflicts most times have been triggered by false information and fake news. It is therefore, the responsibility of every responsible Journalist, to report nothing but the truth, as the ethics of the Journalism profession insists that, where you are in doubt of your information as a Journalist, you leave out.

Practitioners of Traditional Media must play by the role, by ensuring that parties involved in a matter are given equal opportunity to state their case and be projected equally, because anything short of fair hearing is capable of breeding conflict that may later result to crisis. I strongly believe that this training will in no small measure add to the knowledge of the participants. I sincerely, thank the Rotary Club of Port Harcourt Cosmopolitan, Particularly the President of the Club, Mrs Ibim Semenitari for this noble idea of initiating this training. Journalists in Rivers state had a swell time under her as Commissioner for Information and Communications. Thank you.

PART TWO:

FIRST PLENARY SESSION.

SPEAKERS:

Celestine Oogolo- News Room Management: The Role of Editor in Conflict reporting.

Bekee Anyalewechi- Conflict Sensitive Reporting: Dealing with Emotions, Sentiments and Personal Interest.

Robinson Tombari Sibe- Identifying the Triggers and Preventing Conflicts: the role of the Media.

Moderator: Kester Buzugbe.

TEA BREAK.

ROBINSON TOMBARI SIBE- emphasized that; for Conflict to happen, there has to be disagreement, threat or interest, a lot of issues. As Journalist, we are cut in between reporting the truth or interest. How can we resist the temptation of reporting interest? You have the obligation to tell the truth, tell it as it is, so the question is, how do you moderate truth to avoid fueling in further crisis/conflict. Report objectively, conflicts escalate due to frustration.

BEKEE ANYALEWECHI- Traditionally as a Journalist, the instinct is to report, but on the other hand, you will want to report on the angle of what impact the report will make. It is important we report by differentiating personal reporting from sensitive reporting. Speak from all sides, so that, in that way, you are balanced. Our emotions should not drive our stories. Journalism is becoming more participatory. We must be objective and must not allow self interest to drive our stories. When our stories are one sided, we lost trust.

CELESTINE OGOLO- Conflict reporting is wide; Conflict reporting could lead to key crisis. Conflict lives with us. You can reduce conflict, but it can never be eliminated, it’s just like Poverty. “News Room” is the soul of any news medium. Ideas are generated and shared through the news room. News room is where interaction emerges, motivation grow. An Editor is a father figure, he plays a role of what the Media delivers and what the audience wants. An Editor plays a significant role in news management.  How do we report conflicts? Some Scholars agreed that, conflict is divided into two groups (a) Latent Conflict and (b) Manifest Conflict. Most Journalists pay less attention on latent and this brings us to the situation of manifest Four (4) key questions to ask;

  1. Do you understand what is going on?
  2. What are the underlying factors of the conflict?
  3. What are the full effects of the conflict?
  4. Where are you getting your facts?

The Media need to assume both moral and legal implication of what they report. In conclusion, translate your report accurately. Know that, your representation of conflict problem, can be part of the problem. Give voice to the less and peace makers. Develop good sense of sceptism. “NO STORY IS WORTH THE BLOOD OF A REPORTER”..

Q & A.

SECOND PLENARY SESSION.

SPEAKERS:

Blessing Olomu- How Journalists can Contribute to Peace keeping, Peace building and Peace making.

Ibim Semenitari- Security Expert- Staying Safe when Reporting Conflict.

Moderator-Ivy Etokakpan

LUNCH.

Gina Daka- Professionalism Five W’s and H as a tool in managing conflict.

BLESSING OLOMU- Peace Journalism; The way you write a story/the words/headlines can escalate the situation. Journalists should be conscious and cautious of what they report. Counter hate speech. We should identify conflict loopholes and ensure peace.

IBIM SEMENITARI- Be careful how far you push brown envelope. As a reporter, your safety comes first. Personal Safety is key. Young Reporters, thinks it’s okay, be careful, whose money you collect. If you are going to report conflict, be properly clothed. Report from a relative distance, remember “NO STORY WORTH YOUR BLOOD”. In this business, hold your ground.

GINA DAKA- “Conflict is an ingredient of development, if channeled properly.” Journalists must get the work done on time. Time is critical in reporting. Ethics; apply the ethics of journalism in your reporting. Report all sides, detach yourself from the story.

FIVE W’s and H

WHO- Who is involved? WHAT- What happened? WHEN-When did it happened? WHERE-Where did it happen? WHY-Why did it happen? HOW-How did it happened? If your story lacks these six ingredients, then it’s incomplete. CLOSING REMARK AND PRESENTATION OF CERTIFICATES.

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