Friday, August 12, 2022

Defence chief Irabor advocates implementation of press code for journalists 

He said that the media should report on such incidents in an independent and authentic way, but not allow itself to be made the tool of criminals.

• August 3, 2022
Lucky Irabor
Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Lucky Irabor

The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Lucky Irabor, has proposed the implementation of a press code for journalists covering conflicts and security matters.

Mr Irabor, delivering a graduation lecture at the National Defence College (NDC) on Wednesday in Abuja, argued that there was a need for guidelines for reporting difficult stories including stories of conflict and terrorism.

According to him, the German Press Code for example, says in reporting actual and threatened acts of violence, the press should carefully weigh the public interest in information against the interest of victims and other people involved.

He said that the media should report on such incidents in an independent and authentic way, but not allow itself to be made the tool of criminals.

He urged the Nigerian media to emulate and domesticate the German Press Code as its guiding principle in reportage.

Authorities in Abuja have been fuming since the BBC released a documentary highlighting the issues on banditry in Zamfara. Information minister Lai Mohammed vowed that the broadcaster would be punished for “glorifying terrorists”.

The government has often been cast as intolerant of reports and opinions showcasing its incompetence and failures, often clamping down on media organisations and platforms for unflattering reporting.

Nonetheless, CDS Irabor identified the need to deepen strategic communication to pursue proactive security measures to reduce the impact of regional dynamics in the country.

Mr Irabor said there was a need to encourage a Whole-of-Society Approach to security by deepening strategic communication to educate the populace on the fact that issues of security are a collective responsibility.

According to him, everybody in the society ought to be a relevant stakeholder.

“Timely information on suspicious movements of strangers in a community might be the main lead to provide the needed early warning for the relevant government agency to swing into action,” he said.

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