An Abuja-based journalist, Malam Sani Adamu, has urged radio stations in Nigeria to “religiously” abide by the broadcast code for airing of political activities, to avert conflict during the February general election.
Adamu, who is the Head of Multimedia Unit, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), made the call in a paper entitled `Responsible coverage of Election Process for Radio Journalists’, presented at a workshop for radio journalists on Tuesday in Abuja.
The workshop was organised by Search for Common Ground Nigeria, a Non Governmental Organisation, based in Abuja.
He said journalists have a responsibility to ensure that the forthcoming general election was peaceful, free, fair and credible.
Adamu said it was imperative for radio stations to“religiously abide by the broadcast code for airing all political activities, to reduce sources of conflicts and avoid heating the polity”.
The veteran journalist also advised the stations to avoid inflammatory and senseless sound bites capable of provoking tension and conflict.
“Radio journalists must work toward the unity and progress of the nation by projecting those things that unite rather than divide the country,” he urged.
Adamu said it was part of the civic responsibilities of broadcast stations to develop programmes in local languages that would promote peace, and educate the electorate and politicians to play by the rules.
According to him, radio journalists are in a vantage position to guide stakeholders in the election process to abide strictly by the rules to avoid bitterness and rancour.
He urged journalists in the country to learn from the “extreme sense of responsible journalism” exhibited by media practitioners during the post-Nigerian civil war.
Adamu said it was the responsible action taken by journalists, especially of radio stations, that facilitated the healing process which helped to promote unity, peaceful coexistence and mutual respect among all ethnic groups in the country.
Earlier, the Media Officer of the NGO, Malam Isa Hussaini, said the workshop, which brought together journalists from 30 radio stations in the country, was aimed at ensuring responsible coverage of the forthcoming general elections.
“Search for Common Ground Nigeria, has operated in the country since 2004, helping to promote peacebuilding in areas of tension, and encouraging understanding across ethnic, religious, and gender lines,” he said.
Hussaini said the NGO has focussed on addressing conflicts through training in consensus building, conflict resolution, human rights monitoring and reporting, and facilitating dialogue processes at all levels of society.