Your Life is at Risk – Don Tells Journalists

AREWA AGENDA – A Professor of Mass Communication in Bayero University, Kano and former Commissioner for Information, Prof Umar Faruk Jibril has advised journalists to be very cautious of COVID-19 because of the danger the virus carries.

According to him, Journalists covering COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria are close to being “endangered species professionally” as most media organizations care more about reporters raking in stories and revenue more than their safety while covering stories under the epidemic.

Some participants at the workshop

Professor Faruk spoke at a one-day Workshop on “Ethical Journalism and Best Practices in the Time of COVID-19,” held at the PRNigeria Centre Kano on Tuesday.

“Apart from Doctors and Para-Medics, the Journalists are the most victim for COVID-19. The worst is that there is no health insurance for Journalists, but the media organizations insure their equipment, buildings and properties.” Professor Faruk said.

Group Photograph with some of the participants

While calling on Journalists to be conscious of their personal safety and keep track of latest development while reporting the crisis, he charged them to report more statistics of Journalists affected by the pandemic and the welfare of their families in order to bring the issues to light.

Also speaking at the workshop, Dr. Sule Yau Sule, a lecturer in the Department of Mass Communication Bayero University and Senior Legislative aide to Senator Ibrahim Shekarau (Kano Central), while presenting a paper titled “Crisis Communication for COVID-19,” said in passing communication messages in the time of crisis such as COVID-19, a strategic plan geared towards solving the issues at hand must be planned, adopted and evaluated for efficiency.

During a break session

“You have to fashion out how the crisis is to be handled. When you have a strategic plan, you don’t stick to one aspect of communication because you are in crisis, depending on the circumstance and target audience, sometimes you may use religious scholars, Jumma’a Mosque sermons, adaidaita (trycircle) riders and any other means to reach your audience.

“Communication should be centralised in order to avoid conflict of information. The problem of so many spokespersons in a crisis situation means that there is bound to be contradictions because people think differently.” He said.

Receiving Certificate of participation

On his part, a Journalist and Associate Editor with Premium Times Abdulaziz Abdulaziz charged Journalists to work in accordance to the basic principle of the profession and in line with the code of conduct of Journalism practice.

Abdulaziz who presented a paper titled “Ethical Issues in Investigative Reporting,” charged Journalists to conform to the qualities of selflessness and integrity when writing an investigative report.

While warning that Journalists must be careful in identifying story ideas and sources, he said, “We are in the age of alternative facts, we need go deeper, scratch beyond the surface for accuracy.”

The Workshop which was organized by the PRNigeria Centre for Public Relations and Investigative Journalism in Collaboration with the Adamu Abubakar Gwarzo Foundation in Kano was part of the centre’s commitment in equipping Journalists across media organizations with the needed skills for understanding and adapting to various issues of ethical concerns, while reporting the COVID-19 pandemic.

In his remark Musa Abdullahi Sufi, Technical Adviser of the foundation called on Journalists to deploy their skills in going beyond normal reportage.

“Look at local issues, things that contribute to the spread of the virus, domestic and sexual violence, massive pregnancy, just name them,” he said.

Earlier the Manager of PRNigeria Centre Kano, Adnan Mukhtar Adamu called on the participants to put what they learnt into practice for the benefit of the society.
The manager added that the centre will continue to hold such educative workshop in order equip Journalists with best practice of the profession.

Arewa Agenda is a Publication of young writers from Northern Nigeria towards peaceful coexistence and national development through positive narratives.

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