Don’t glamourise insurgents, expert urges media

Don’t glamourise insurgents, expert urges media

AREWA AGENDA – The Director of News and Politics Editor for Arise News, Mr Sumner Sambo, has advised the media not to glamourise insurgency as such would embolden the perpetrators and put fear in the populace.

Sambo gave the advice at the Photo Journalism Festival’s breakfast debate on Press Freedom organised by the French Embassy at the Institut francais in Abuja on Friday.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the breakfast debate session holds quarterly but was put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic shut down of global activities in 2020.

However, this is the first of the sessions for 2022, and the breakfast debate aims at addressing complex issues surrounding the press freedom.

The panelists were drawn from reputable media organisations and platforms to help in clarifying the concept of press freedom and to address the challenges faced by Journalists in Nigeria.

Sambo said that Journalism was a calling and journalists owe themselves a huge responsibility to the society in setting agenda for the people to follow.

While expressing concern on the operation of insurgency in the country, he advised journalists to desist from glamourising it, stressing that the state was more powerful than the terrorists.

He also said that journalists should focus their reportage more on the state actors to help in taking the power of terrorists away from them in their reports.

“Journalism is a calling and some of us owe ourselves a huge responsibility and I hope you know that the reason we are here peacefully without running away is because of the peace we have here.

“Also, we should know that no matter how powerful the terrorists claim to be, the state is powerful than the terrorists because the state derives its authorities from the people.

“Terrorists do not derive their power from the people; it is through our various mediums that we oblige them with such powers, so we need to understand when non-state actors are trying to push out fear to the people.

“Fear is the greatest weapon that terrorist use to send message and what do they use to send the message is the media medium, so they are using you and it’s not you they want.

“They want to send a message through to some people, and many of us make mistake that it is the government they want to attack `NO’, they are sending the message through you to the people that they are more powerful than the government,’’ he said.

Busola Ajibola, Deputy Director Journalism Programme for Center for Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID), said that press freedom was also citizens freedom as it relates to their fundamental human rights.

Ajibola who was one of the panelists added that press freedom was also citizens right because without the right of the press the growth of the country would be disrupted.

Limitation of press freedom has vital effect on the growth of any country and its economy, because when journalists are being harassed or molested the people will be deprived of certain right and polices.

“The Official Secret Act does not allow the journalist to operate freely and he or she’s accountability will be deprived due to this act.

“The media has the right of accountability role and without the sense of censorship and threat,’’ she said.

Sadiq Adelakun, a Visual Journalist and also one of the panelists said that due to the nature of the job some of his report does not carry his name as the sacrifice he pays for the job.

“The challenges we face sometimes as a journalist is that we do not take credit for our reports due to the nature of the story or photograph we publish on different mediums.

“I do that many times in New York Times and others magazines that carry my work because bearing in mind that my interest is for the story not my name.

“I remember when I did a story on the abduction of school children in Zamfara, Kaduna, Niger and Katsina States, so when I was in Amsterdam early this year and had someone from Germany asking me about the abductees.

“I said some of them were released and some still in captivity, and she praised me and I made her understand that the story is not about me but about the abducted girls,” he said. (NAN)