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Hon. Gagdi urges journalists to promote peace, not war

by Christiana Gokyo, Jos

PLATEAU STATE – It has been observed that, journalists have been criticized for covering stories in a manner that promote war rather than peace.

The Member representing Pankshin, Kanke and Kaman at the National Assembly in Plateau State, Hon. Yusuf Adamu Gagdi, disclosed this during the Inaugural Lecture/ Fund Raising for Purchase of Vehicle of the Correspondent Chapel of the NUJ, Plateau state council in Jos.

Speaking on the paper with a theme, ‘Insecurity and the Quest for Lasting Peace in Nigeria, the Role of the Media,’ Gagdi said the sensation in reports has, amongst other things, caused feelings of anger on one side and excitement on the other.

“If one carefully follows reports on most media today, one can deduce instances of regionalism, ethnocentricism, religiosity, tribalism and political party affiliations in these reports,” he said.

He also observed that, “There is the challenge of unprofessionalism and quackery in journalism. That means, the invasion of the media by people, who are not professionally trained to handle issues and those not, necessarily means that the absence of certificate in Mass Communication but lack of expertise in reporting war, crises, crime, and other specialized areas.

He stressed that, “There is also challenge of resources. Some media outfit owners are just jostled into the ‘business’ to make ends meet. These owners do not often care about the integrity of content as much as the sponsors on their stations pay well.

On the other hand, he said, lack of adequate funding of broadcast media by government contributes of poor equipment and facilities to undertake investigative journalism and no risk management factors and insurance for journalists in the line of duty.

“There is the need for complete overhaul of the philosophy to run media outfits. This will require review of procedures for issuing license for broadcast, improving welfare of journalists, proper financing and equipping of media and insurance for journalists in the line of duty,” he urged. 

While calling on editors, producers and directors in the media space to work towards improving content and objective reports, he elaborated that, “This would enhance neutrality, objectivity and balance in reporting major contentious issues in the polity.

“It would also secure society that is polarized by religion, ethnicity and mutual suspicion, and called for appropriate legislations to be enacted to safeguard and protect journalists in the line of their duty.

Hon. Gagdi said the NUJ can identify specific areas of need and amendments on existing laws to guarantee this, while fake news and hate speech actors and media stations should be punished through available regulations.

The Member called on government to properly reform the media as an autonomous body of the National Broadcast Commission (NBC) to free it from political interference, saying, “The government’s failures to directly or indirectly engage 60 percent of the Nigerian youths have a huge negative impact on the security of the country.”

Hon. Gagdi noted that, graduates are produced in their large numbers without a hope of employment and the enabling environment for self development and engagements and the rising in poverty amongst the people.

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