Publisher, Premium Times, Dapo Olorunyomi, has suggested that journalists must acquire the skills to keenly discern the realms of conflict triggers and their effects in a conflict situation.
He stated this in his keynote remarks titled ‘Media in Times of Crisis: Resolving Conflict, Achieving Consensus’ at the 17th Annual Nigerian Guild of Editors Conference in Abuja.
The veteran journalist said that acquiring the skills would be helpful for the journalist to enable positive outcomes from realities of conflict.
He said “Triggers are the root causes of conflicts, and if we focus on them as against the effects, we can do better job at it. Unhappily, addressing core triggers of conflict are not what policy makers and politicians are trained to do, or are patient to embrace as pathways to solutions in moments of crisis.”
“Indeed, any granular analysis of the main conflicts in Nigeria today will invariably locate the triggers in issues of poverty, politics, land, the economic shocks, climate change, religion, and social Justice issues. The question then is why these are not the goals and preferences of policy makers when it comes to solutions.
“This knowledge of the triggers of conflict, of their dynamics, and indeed of their transformative potentials, is what facilitates the news media to play purposive roles in resolving conflict and helping to achieve consensus around agreeable issues. This is, in a narrow sense, how to understand the claims of media and communication theorists who advance the agenda-setting role of news media – that they can play constructive social and political roles without becoming vulgar mouthpieces of ideological and cliquish causes.
He lamented that the Nigerian news media is being frustrated by policy makers lack of understanding of the legal basis, the statutory demands on the media, the challenges the industry faces, and the shifting context of ecology.
“I have myself exchanged endless debates with many state officials on what they consider to be the unhelpful attitude of the country’s news media in the important task of building or rebuilding the country to strength and purpose.
“Why is this such an impossible dialogue to execute? In part it because policy makers have not come to understand the legal basis, the statutory demands on the media, the challenges the industry faces, and the shifting context of ecology.
He however noted that the Nigerian news media has earned a chest full of badges on account of its vigorous case for independence and democracy.
“Its redoubtable stance against three decades of ruinous military dictatorship, its consensus for national unity after the civil war, its historical anti-corruption posture particularly through the fourth Republic, its strong public health campaigns through the Ebola, HIV, to the current COVID pandemic are all report cards of excellence for the media. So, what then is the problem?”