The Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) has called for healthy and harmonious collaboration between the media and the security agencies in the fight against insecurity across the country.
The guild said the problem of insecurity is taking a huge toll on societal life and posting negative development indices in several areas.
This is contained in a communique on Monday in Abuja, signed by the NGE President, Mustapha Isah and the General Secretary, Iyobosa Uwugiaren, at the end of a conference, with the theme: Media In Times of Crises: Resolving Conflict, Achieving Consensus.
Participants said that peace and development, which are germane to further advancement of Nigeria, cannot thrive in times of crises.
They added that governments at all levels have a huge responsibility to defend, protect and provide for its citizens.
“The insecurity crises stem from leadership failure that has bedevilled the country for many years.
‘’There are fears in some quarters that editors and media professionals seem to have taken sides in the raging crises.
“Journalists and security agents who are first line responders to every flash points appear locked in mutual suspicion,” they said.
The NGE also noted that journalists were often times impaired and harassed by security agents from carrying out their professional responsibilities, adding that peace and development cannot thrive in times of crises.
They maintained that the agitations for self-determination, which are raging in the South-east, South-west and the South-south regions do not augur well for the unity of the country.
“There’s the absolute need for healthy and harmonious collaboration between the media and the security agencies in the fight against insecurity.
‘’Also, there is a need for security agents to appreciate the role of Journalists and media professionals and refrain from anything that will abridge it,” they said.
The Guild advised editors and other media professionals to ensure that they are conflict-sensitive and ensure they do not publish stories that are capable of inflaming ethnic, regional and religious passion.
They called for urgent need to tackle the monster of misinformation and sanitize the media against unprofessional and unethical behaviour.
The conference also called on government to support the survival of the media as part of the task of building the nation’s democracy and avoid any acts that would put the media in chains.
While calling on the federal government to confront issues that have given rise to the demands of the different self-determination groups, the conference advised it to endeavour to deal with the different sections of the country on the basis of fairness, equity and justice.
‘’There is need for government to ensure that its policies and actions are sensitive to the multi ethnic and religious makeup of the country.
‘’Government needs to commit more resources to education, healthcare and tackle the rising costs of food and other social services’’, the conference stated,” they said.
The News Agency Nigeria reports that the NGE’s two-day conference was rounded up with a 60th Anniversary Dinner, which featured the induction of eight new Fellows and 13 new members.