Eugenia Abu, former Executive Director of Programmes, Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) has warned the media in Nigeria to be wary of what they publish to avoid sparking more conflicts in the country. She made the warning call at the tenth Wole Soyinka Centre Media Lecture Series held in Lagos on Friday 13 July, in commemoration of the 84th birthday of Wole Soyinka, Africa’s first Nobel Laureate in Literature.
Discussing the role of the media in providing the dominant ideology, the veteran broadcaster lamented the commercialisation of the media, particularly the fact that the media use controversial headlines capable of setting the nation ablaze.
Positing that the media would not handle conflicts well if it does not understand conflicts, she charged the media to have the back story of the conflicts, in terms of what led to it, how it can turn violent, the people involved in the conflict and what they have to gain.
Eugenia Abu, who works across the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) belt as a media consultant, urged the media to be mindful of Nigeria’s diverse culture in Nigeria in its reportage.
She said, “The media must remember our cultural issues, that we are not homogeneous like America and therefore we are not all the same. So, what applies to northeast does not apply to southwest because we come from a different culture. You must balance your stories in a manner that everybody’s view is carried along.”
Asserting that knowledge about conflict resolution is part of becoming a journalist in the present time where conflict is between communities, Eugenia Abu challenged media owners to do more in building the capacity of their journalists to understand conflict.
She said: “Balanced, investigative reporting requires more than just being able to write, it requires your ability to research, to understand conflict, to prepare the way to be the peaceful builder as part of the society”.