CISLAC trains Enugu journalists on early warning, response reporting.of conflicts

Sylvia Udegbunam, Enugu

Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), has trained Journalists in Enugu on early warning and response reporting which ended with a call for robust synergy between newsmen and relevant Stakeholder.

The one day media Workshop held in Enugu at Golden Royale hotel aimed at building capacity of the media on accurate and verifiable Early Warning reporting through enhanced collaboration, communication and coordination that support Early Response mechanisms, was attended by over twenty Journalists from different media outfits.

Our Correspondent reports that the training had a technical session with paper presentation titled: ‘The Role of the Media in Building Effective Early Warning and Early Response Mechanism for Communities – Conflict Sensitive and Objective Reportage delivered by Professor. Michael Ukonu of the Mass Communication Department, University of Nigeria Nsukka UNN.

After brainstorming exhaustively on various thematic sessions, the participants made some observations and recommendations contained in a Communique produced at the end of the workshop.

They noted that “as human explores and harnesses her natural environment, it becomes imperative to establish and empower social institutions such as media to uphold social stability through accurate and verifiable reporting.

“The nature of Constitutional powers accorded the media coupled with social expectations has positioned the journalists as emergency specialists in accurate reporting of both natural and man-made disasters.

Professor Ukonu’s presentation which forms part of the Communique, posited that significance of journalists in Early Warning and Early Response is anchored on efficient capacity that answers critical questions like how to anticipate, manage and report conflict.

“As social change triggers the cycles of social evolution and social conflict, it becomes paramount to activate Early Warning and Early Response system supported by the accurate and factual media reporting.

“Early warning and early Response reporting extends beyond usual reporting functions by journalists to in-depth issues like ability to identify, collect, analyse and contextualise information/data through well-informed social mobilisation and socialisation process.

“Related conflict strata in Early Warning signals for observation and monitoring for appropriate reporting system include local communities, communication and media, politics and governance, environment, religious, education and health.

“Unattended critical social markers and unregulated public sensitisation constitute a potential conflict signal for appropriate attention to elicit adequate preparedness and response.

The Communique, stressed the need for overcoming inherent clogs in Early Warning Early Response reporting process through avoidance of sensationalism, political pressure, economic pressures, organisation structures and profit seeking tendency.

“Observing natural process of change in a specific sphere or Reporting Desk to ascertain critical points that germinate into the tipping points in Early Warning and Early Response reporting process.

“Identifying and understanding the actions and response by human actors/social markers to efficiently monitor outcome in relation to conflict signals; and deploy appropriate Early Warning reporting.

“Verifiable information collection on the flashpoints with persistent monitoring of possible sources of tension through exhaustive analysis and factual information sharing. Adopting a centralised Early Warning Early Response reporting system leveraging virtual platforms to harness input from citizens for harmonisation into EWER reporting”.

” Gender sensitivity in Early Warning Early Response information gathering and reporting process to protect the rights and dignity of women and other vulnerable groups. Strengthening the media Early Warning Early Response system to promote factual information sharing, extensive outreach, and due diligence in reporting process.

They also harped on mapping and identifying critical stakeholders and their relevance to the EWER process to match Early Warning signals with appropriate response mechanisms in media reporting.

“Building synergy through formation of Emergency Response Team led by the media comprising relevant authorities to enhance coordination and confidentiality in information sharing on Early Warning and Early Response process.

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