INSECURITY: Roles of Journalism in Tackling Humanitarian Challenges

By: Abdulrasheed Akere

Dreadful insurgent attacks have been recorded in Nigeria’s history, which resulted in the loss of indefinite lives and properties. This places Nigeria in a very low peace category in the Global Peace Index (GPI) ranking of countries and territories based on their levels of peacefulness. The giant of Africa was ranked 151 in 2015, 149 in 2016, 149 in 2017, 148 in 2018 and 148 in 2019 out of the 163 countries ranked by GPI.

Journalism plays a significant and critical role in circulating information about troubling issues to create proper awareness, calls for authority’s attention, keeps the victims’ stories alive and speculates interminable solutions. Information is power; media is the cogent instrument for airing it, while journalism is the poignant bond between the two entities.

According to the English dictionary, “Journalism is the aggregating, writing, editing, and presenting of news or news articles for widespread distribution, typically in electronic publications and broadcast news media, for the purpose of informing the audience.” Despite the increase in recruitment to Nigerian forces to build strong security by the polity, it still battles violence that makes the nation appear insecure. Though citizens’ properties were lost to the rebellions, the human angle of the stories should be more noted for its complications.

Meanwhile, lives were lost, millions of people were displaced and still facing domicile and financial challenges. Figures of Internally Displaced People (IDP) propagate every day, many of them now stay in formal and informal camps while others become refugees in neighbouring countries such as Chad, Cameroon, Niger and secure states in Nigeria.

Journalism is to play a vital role in tackling humanitarian challenges and corroborating Nigeria’s security. Most importantly, Journalists must report human stories sensationally, keep their ordeals on air, and preach for governmental and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) to provide support to the affected people. Also, torching stories of widows that lost their husbands to insecurity attacks should not be underreported to attract foundation attention.

Moreso, journalism should be a medium that builds relationships between the government and victims, proffer help to them and seek their human rights from the government. Journalists should utilize the Freedom Of Information, or FOI power bestowed on them to question and interview governmental bodies to gain facts and evidence on security issues.

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. In the sense that the government has to confide in journalists and vice versa to be able to conquer the battle of insecurity.

Furthermore, journalism should reinvigorate fact-checkers to fact-check insurgency reports, monitor victims’ figures and statistics, endeavours in first-hand and on-field reportage, avert exaggeration of violence and curtail fake news. Insight into information has an impact on public discourse, therefore, journalism should avoid spreading rumours by citizens that also have access to media such as social media and internet users.

Conclusively, journalists should work hand-in-hand with the military force as is common in developed countries like the United States of America (USA) where journalists were found in the war forefront amidst soldiers in order to carry out their duties effectively. Success activities of the Nigerian army and other security operatives should also be reported to convey development in the system and portray remnant actions. In view, if all rights are duly observed, Nigeria will have a peaceful atmosphere.

About the writer: Abdulrasheed Akere is a student of Usmanu Danfodiyo University Sokoto (UDUS). He can be reached via abdulrasheedabdulkareem01@gmail.com

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